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𝔖 𝔢 𝔦 𝔥 𝔡 𝔥 𝔞 𝔯 𝔞




Time: The Day the Gods Came

For a long time, Urhu had drifted through Galbar. Ever since her talk with Shengshi, she had dedicated all of her attention and curiosity towards her idea, however, as much as she tried to come up with it, there was always something that seemed to be missing. Sometimes she wondered if going back to her brother’s palace would help, but her heart told her that what she searched for was not something she would find there.

One would have expected her to have strong feelings about certain things that had transpired on Galbar - but in truth, she was too focused to care. Even Asceal’s explosion, something that was directly her fault, had been handwaved. She had desired a more peaceful solution and had not even considered causing destruction so great that the effects would be irreversible as an option, yet it was what had happened and it had worked, and that was what mattered. In her mind, Asceal would not have had the second sun blow up her sphere if she had not made the second sun in the first place.

On her travels she noticed new lands rising up from the sea, most were normal, but some were elusive. It seemed many of her siblings had gone to great efforts to make areas of difficult access, made to mess with travelers. She understood the thought, but they had to understand that they were indirectly challenging her to brave such areas.

Along the way, the goddess would start to use her divine energy to create little ‘notes’ for later, when her mind was free, so she could easily find locations of her interest.

In the continent controlled by her brother, neighbor, and god of the hunt, she extended her hand and a mountain rose from the ground. A simple mountain would not do, and as such, this mountain had large blocks of what appeared to be polished moonstone.

In the continent north of where she had met Shengshi, she found a pleasant natural harbor hidden in a cliffside cavern. Urhu would reshape that cavern, opening its walls up to an extent, but keep the cavernous aspect of it.

Finally, her siblings’ attempts to hide an entire continent had certainly left her apprehensive, she could easily find it, but she wanted to invest more on knowing where things were. Her answer to this issue would come in the form of fish, a little test of the waters for future possibilities. Blessing the waters near the elusive continent, she created a moving ecosystem. Every few days, the schools of fish would go to the surface and shine, a natural instinct making these fishes always track the shifting lands.

The goddess felt she was becoming used by now to create ways to track the lands she visited, recognizing and memorizing what was distinct, and, if necessary, creating her own markings. Yet this was a skill that did not help with her main objective at the moment, and as such, she continued to drift across the oceans and continents…



Mount Muspell belched and for miles around the seafloor shook and the waters frothed and turned angrily. Searingly hot ash and smoke swirled and swelled into the air, and lava streamed down the seething volcano’s sides. Large waves rose and fell, crashing resoundingly against the well-worn southern cliffs and shores of Kalmar’s newly-raised and jealously guarded continent. And from the mess of twisting and turning smoke, there emerged a great mass of tendrilous lava that speared at the sky then extended and spread out until, encompassing the world from horizon to horizon, it was a second sky. And from the smoke there exploded a goddess running at speed, her face set in a focused frown. With each swift and powerful stride she exploded forth, outrunning even the air. Higher and higher she raced, her hair exploding and writhing about her, leaving a great fiery trail in her wake as though she were some comet streaming across Galbar’s skies.

Seihdhara could see that there was now a landmass that had either not been there before, or that she had not taken notice of, rather close to Mount Muspell. As she she maintained her aerial dash to get as far from Mount Muspell as she could, she ducked beneath a cloud, dove, and Galbar suddenly spread out below her. The new continent presented itself for her appraisal, and the goddess very suddenly came to a screeching stop and took pause in the heavens, her immense red hair now drifting in the wind and now twisting and snaking about itself or about her, and she observed the great landmass. It was bare. She took a few aerial steps, and her hair shimmered and rustled. But now that she looked more carefully, there seemed to be a rather pretty mountain standing defiantly on the sea, and it glittered and glistened - now a pale blue and now white, and now a yellow and now the most subtle, oddly comforting, purple.

Not too far along the coast Seihdhara spotted a great patch of green, and excitement gripped her. She had been so mired in the series of increasingly strange incidents that had been happening to her since entering this world that she had not truly had time to take things in properly. Now, at last, she had a moment of calm. She drifted forward, then - one step, two steps - and she plummeted explosively towards the one patch of living land on the great landmass. Her hair streamed behind her like a great river of flame across the heavens, a great red spear dashing impossibly towards its target. Air clawed at her in an effort to slow the flaming goddess, now catching her shoulder and now tugging at her hair, but no protesting wind was stopping the goddess.

Yet Seihdhara did not crash into the forest. When she was close enough, her hair very suddenly extended outwards like a great canopy, catching the air and slowing the goddess considerably. She laughed at the floaty feeling, and then her hair wrapped up around her and, with two preparatory steps, she leapt, flipped in mid air, and dove right down into the trees. She snaked about branches despite her speed and very soon landed gently in the thicket where she fell on her back and breathed deeply. This was good. Comforting. Cosy. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to take it all in. The winds rustling in the leaves, the leaves falling, small plants growing in the thicket, the trees themselves breathing, sighing, growing.

She opened her eyes and looked at them curiously. Back beyond the Door she had spread Kappy’s souls to everything - to the grasses and the trees, the rivers and the mountains and the hills, to the very winds. Here though, despite a soul visibly throbbing in every tree, the earth itself did not seem to have a soul, or the pebbles and rocks strewn everywhere, or the streams. And the world felt all the emptier for it. Perhaps she could try to give them souls? It felt right.

Getting on her hands and knees she looked about her, sensing the little bits of soul dust that permeated the air everywhere. She tapped the air with one hand, tapped the earth with another. She tapped again. The slightest ripple pulsed outwards - not in the physical air, but in the air of souls. She tapped again, more urgently, and the ripple became a rush. She smiled and tapped a third, and it was a great surge. Then she extended a hand and gripped, and in her hand there was a ghostly rope. She pulled once, but it would not give, so pulled again. Standing, she gripped the otherworldly rope with two hands and pulled with greater strength. One step back she went, the rope with her, and another. And when she was half way through the third, it suddenly gave and she went flying - not only due to the force of her pulling, but the surge.

Something - Seihdhara knew not what - had been actively stopping souls from making a home in natural phenomena like rocks and rivers. Seihdhara watched as an endless stream of soul dust exploded through the breach she had created and rushed towards the earth and rocks and distant mountains, into the wind and off into the sea. The trees rustled about her, as if stretching, and the smaller plants seemed to give off long sighs. Seihdhara smiled and bent down to a small blade of grass, stroking it. It shivered. Gently the goddess lifted it from the root, leaving enough soil and moisture for it to live for a time yet. A tress of hair curled about the single grass blade and it disappeared in Seihdhara’s endless hair. She watched the flow of soul dust for some time, and then she frowned. Though great amounts were attempting to access the rocks and wind and earth, they did not seem to be meeting with any success. For whatever reason the rocks here seemed to… reject the souls? Or maybe the souls of this world were different and could not enter such things and forces naturally. It seemed a shame to Seihdhara, and she fell on her back again and closed her eyes. She listened to the song of the birds - the only creatures in this forest besides the insects everywhere, it seemed - and it took her back to the song of those little creatures on that island seemingly so long ago. That tune…

She opened her eyes and extended a tress up into the trees, breaking a branch and bringing it down were she proceeded to hollow it out and carve it with her hairs. When it was complete, Seihdhara took the flute into her hands and, blowing on it a few times, brought it to her lips and held it there. She did not blow, but allowed herself to live the moment, and the many moments like it that she had lived and made merry and sang and danced with her beloved grizzlies and children, clapping and whirling about the flames, some playing wooden flutes while others blew energetically into panpipes. She remembered their laughter as she began playing, and the memory brought tears to her eyes, and anger that those good days had to end.

Her father had been angry. It was true, she had disobeyed him. But to strike her loves down like that, to tear her from her children, to imprison her, the youngest of his daughters.

Climb up to the chimney and tell the Aerian Wind to gentle blow. I fear he will tip the mountain over. But whatever you do, do not stick your head out at the top.


And so she had climbed, and she spoke as her father bid her to the Aerian Wind. But then she remembered what father had once said to her as she lay wrapped up warm and safe in a blanket by the fire -

If you go up and look over from the top of the mountain, you can see the ocean in all its vastness and wonder.


She had been a little girl then, could one punish her for being curious? And she had raised her head - ever so slightly, mind you - to see. But she saw nothing but the ruffling of her long red hair as it whipped all about her and disappeared even beyond the four horizons. And the Aerian Wind caught her, and carried her oh so far away to a land of endless snow and trees. And she dragged her hair in snow till the grizzly found her and took her with him home. And there in the home of the grizzly bear, with his wife and all his children, the little red-haired girl grew. Then in time she was no longer a little girl, but a woman full-formed and beautiful.

And she married and was happy, and her naked little children danced and played about her feet - funny little things, neither bear nor god. And they brought much joy to their mother, and they brought much joy to their many fathers. And she dwelled in a small lodge near her father's mount, and was in all ways content.

And when the old grizzly knew that death was soon coming to accompany him on the next journey, and he feared ascending to see her father once his life was ended, he called upon all the grizzlies and sent one of her children up to call her father down, that his daughter may be returned at last. And her father had come rushing down as a mighty whirlwind to the lodge where his daughter lived expecting the little girl. But when he saw the full-grown woman and mother a great anger took him, and he struck the old grizzly down and cursed grizzlies everywhere to forevermore walk on four feet, their head cast low. And he scattered her children - his grandchildren! - across the earth. And he put out the mountain fire she had basked in as a child and took her and all her siblings back with him to the sky, from where she constantly launched her gaze earthward just as earnestly as her children looked heavenward. And her father caused nature itself to oppress them, and so she had taught them - though her father knew it not - how to protect themselves.

Then one day she was offered freedom. A Door opened where there had been none, and it bid her enter and partake in creation. Freedom. She had not wanted to step in, only look through - she had only been curious, you see, for she thought she could smell the salt of the sea. And her crimson hair had been swallowed in, and she fell head-first through the First Door. And when she rose, she was on a bare shore, the sea stretching out before her and her endless hair spearing every horizon. She had stared wide-eyed then, and she had raised her hands to her face and wept - cried for beauty, and cried because she knew. She knew there was no going back. And she cried even now as she remembered - remembered the new siblings she had met, remembered her Dwyni and her Newygnong, remembered the sword-child she had birthed to be her joy and comfort in that new world.

Seihdhara lifted the flute from her lips and looked up with wet eyes. She had not noticed them, but a number of birds were now sat gaping at her, stunned and grieved by the deep sadness in the sounds - and yet for all its sadness, its core was all hope. Seihdhara wiped her tears away and tucked the flute into her hair. Yes, hope. A steeliness entered her eyes then. She had determined, when she passed the First Door, that she would open it and bring her children through. And now that she had passed through a Second Door, she determined that she would open that too and bring the rest of her soul, the rest of her hair, her beloved Dwyni and all who she loved through. She raised a hand and looked at it, and when she clenched it into a fist a shower of golden dust exploded from it, and there came before her the apparition of a shortsword. She smiled. Ursus Mater was still with her it seemed. For all her losses, she had not lost all.

Rising to her feet - and so causing her bird audience to scatter - she kicked the earth and leapt into the air, and with two great bounds took off into the air. Up through the canopy and into the clear sky. She did not go higher, however, preferring to maintain some proximity to the sea of green. Peals of joyous laughter echoed across the forest, her feet touching the crowns of innumerable trees as she went breezing by. And then forest gave way to grassy plain, and plain gave way to sand, and sand gave way to sea as far as the eye could go. Seihdhara beelined for the surface of the water, and as her speeding feet grew closer the water began to swirl and foam beneath her. She brought her knees to her chest, looked down as the surface approached, and then she stretched out suddenly so that her heels skimmed the surface of the water even as she continued gliding onwards. Foam and spray flew all about her in a hail of sound and wetness, and she was soon soaked from head to toe and laughing.

Whooooo! She whooped for any who would hear, her arms spread out to meet the air and spraying water as she transition to running on the surface of the sea. She did not realise quite how fast she was going, for soon enough she saw land. Immediately she made for it, whooping and letting her joy and excitement be known.



Urhu was calmly flying Nyeothay Tag over the sea when she stopped, looking up into the sky with apprehension. It seemed that yet another celestial object had been launched towards the world, this time it was some sort of… red comet? Nevertheless, the wanderer took the ship’s wheel and commanded it let go of its speed and size in an attempt to avoid whatever that was. The comet continued at speed, and as it approached it became clear that it was making strange sounds - whooping and cheering, and every now and then the odd ‘Tu! Emu! Nuyyu! Oh! Yeo! Kea! Hea! Ha! Ey!’

Hearing this Urhu froze… She knew the voice, and was glad it was who it was, but she could not help but to wonder how could she know those words. Thoughts over such things as Urhu still wanted to stop Nyeothay Tag to be on the side of safety.

And now that it was far closer, it was clear that this was no comet, but Seihdhara made whole (or at least more whole) and more glorious than the Ugly Old Ogre had willed. The goddess seemed rather focused on the great island she now heading towards and did not notice the ship and Urhu on it. But as she looked here and there her eyes finally settled on the strange boat. From high up where Seihdhara was, it looked to be made of wood, but her divine senses told her that this was no the case at all. A structure that looked something like a great shack stood on its deck, and on top of the shack there were many animal-shaped structures - deers and birds and dogs. Curious, Seihdhara bent her knees and dived for the great boat. ‘Ahoy there!’ She announced as she approached at speed, and just before she crashed feet first into the ships deck her hair exploded outwards suddenly and she decelerated almost immediately. She floated inches from the deck for a few moments, and then her feet settled on the wood-like deck. Immediately she sensed a familiar presence and, eyes wide with excitement she rushed about in search of the presence. ‘Rhu?’ She called as she wandered about, her hair trailing all over the place and falling off over the boat’s side into the water.

From under the sea of red hair, Urhu emerged, having been on a spot that had been covered by the hair. Brushing aside the threads, she raised her hand. “That would be me, yes.” She told her, in a somewhat playful tone. “Nice to see you again, Seihdhara, and it seems you have recovered your other half!” Seihdhara’s eyes widened with joy when Urhu emerged, and she leapt at the other god. At the last second she remembered her friend’s warning against painful bear hugs and rather than crashing into her, as she fully intended to do, swept her off her feet instead and twirled her about.

‘Yes! It’s back! And it’s all thanks to you!’ And she planted kisses on the other god’s forehead and cheeks as she said it, ‘you made it possible Rhu! Thank you!’ And though she would have been happy to hug the other god for days, her encounter with Orvus had taught her that not everyone enjoyed close physical contact as much as she did, and so she eventually - if reluctantly - put the other goddess down. ‘You won’t believe what happened after I left you Rhu-rhu, it’s been one horrible thing after another!’ As she spoke she tugged on her hair and the strands slowly began to wrap themselves tightly about her like a second skin until the deck of the Nyeothay Tag was free of hair and safe to walk again. ‘First I got in a fight with Orvy and he turned my hair white! And he threw a massive asteroid at me. It was going to destroy that Old Ogre’s moon, but I didn’t let that happen - but then the asteroid came towards here instead,’ she looked about curiously, ‘but the planet’s still here, so I’m guessing somebody dealt with it. But anyway, I told him not to do stupid stuff like throwing asteroids at people. Then he went off and I followed him - and I fell asleep. But while I was asleep my hair saw Orvy save me from a painful trampling by that laughing madman Narz! And when I woke up I saw the planet and my goodness, it was so pretty! So I went down and - ugh, did I tell you that Orvy made my hair go all white and icky? And when I was flying down to the planet it all burnt off and I became bald!! So ugly,’ she scrunched her nose up at the memory, then shook her head, ‘but anyway, you won’t believe this, but that crazy Sealy went and made a big explosion and she chopped me up in two! It was the worst. And then that crazy Cat-head tried to kill me! And after that, Danglydong tried to eat me! Heh, but I showed him!’ She laughed at the memory of Sartravius groaning and carrying his belly after she exploded from inside him. ‘What about you Rhu? What’ve you been up to? Is this your boat? It’s pretty. I really like the dogs on the roof!’

Still dizzy from being twirled around, Urhu started to nod, trying to catch up to the torrent of information being thrown at her with fury unmatched. “White hair… Orvy… Narz… Planet… bald? Ah…” she thought, freezing at the mention of the explosion, she had no idea she had caused so much trouble to Seihd when she fixed Asceal’s mistakes, but there was little time to linger on this when the red-haired goddess continued to talk, it was the sort of wound that would hurt more on the next morning. “Cat… Eaten?”

The goddess of travel shook her head, confused, and reached forward, taking the other goddess’ hands. “I am glad you liked my ship, it has been so useful for me! I myself have not been up to much, Seihd, not as much as you, but I can tell you about it. First, however, would you not like to get in and have something to eat or drink? Then you can tell me about how you were eaten by a cat among other things.” Seihdhara laughed and nudged Urhu playfully with a hand.
‘Not by the cat silly!’And she took off towards the interior with Urhu’s hand still in hers. Realising that she had no idea how to navigate around the boat, she turned to Urhu and put her in front, ‘I haven’t eaten in… forever! I could eat the boat! So yes, food it is!’

“Eat the boat? Well then, better leave it in the largest of its forms then.” Urhu smirked and entered Nyeothay Tag. Even at its largest size, it was easy for a god to tell there was some extent of space bending within the ship’s cabin, nevertheless, the location itself was quite simple in looks, wooden furniture, simple linen over flat wood benches, decorations made from seashells and feathers she had collected in the Eye. A simple room more that did not seem to belong to a god but to a humble mortal, albeit one that really cared about keeping things organized and decorated with the little they had. Seihdhara trailed a hand along the wooden furniture as she passed by and stroked the linen on the benches. She appraised the feathers and seashells decorating the place with a little starstruck smile, and only Urhu’s voice caused her to shake herself out of her wonder and go after her. She liked this place. It reminded her of… of home. Cosy, simple, warm. Not a physical warmth, but a spiritual warmth of familial gatherings and the get-togethers of friends; of evenings spent wrapped up in so many blankets slumbering by the fire while Father snored in his great rocking chair; of being pressed against the warm fur of a lover while thunder and hail pounded the world outside; of raining kisses and laughter on now this child of her bosom and now that and watching their eyes light up in wonder when regaled with tales that once regaled her.

“I did a hunting trip to the Eye archipelago, it was created by that meteor your mentioned.” The wanderer said as she entered the kitchen, reaching into a box and taking out meat cuts much larger than it was possible to store in it. “Very nice place, really, got myself a lot of meat, then I made some trophies and clothes with what was left because wasting an animal is not very respectful.” Seihdhara noted Urhu’s words and smiled distantly as she took a seat. How many times - sternly, kindly, firmly, warningly - had she heard such words from puckered grizzly lips? After some moments, Urhu returned to her sister with a plate full of simmering lizard meat steaks, covered in nuts and fruits she had found while scavenging. She then reached for a cupboard and took out a bottle and a cup, filling the cup with a strange liquid that had a distinct and strong burning smell. “All yours. If you want more, just ask, I have plenty.” Seihdhara nodded and stared at the food giddily and was about to dig in with abandon when she took pause. She looked to Urhu with a slight frown and spoke.

‘Uh, Rhu? What about you? Won’t you eat with me?’ Then she inspected the odd liquid and smelled the bottle. She had never before come across such a strange odour - not back in the previous world and not in her home world either - and she scrunched her nose up and placed the bottle a distance from her, ‘a-and, what’s that?’

“I will admit I am somewhat tired of lizard meat… But, hmm, I suddenly got an appetite!” Sharing a meal with others was typically very fun, at least it had been with the river god, she could only guess it would also be enjoyable with Seihdhara. “Oh… Hehe, that is wine, a gift from Shengshi” she explained, sitting by Seihdhara’s side, getting herself some of it. “Very unique flavor, but quite nice, you cannot drink too much or your head starts to feel light… unless that is what you are aiming for.” Seihdhara raised an eyebrow and chuckled - a drink that made you lightheaded? How odd.

‘Shengshi...Shengshi…’ she muttered to herself as she watched Urhu drink from the cup, ‘he’s the…’ she frowned as she tried to remember the other gods, but on this occasion only the information which the Ugly Old Ogre had forced into her head came through, ‘the wet snakey one right?’ Without waiting any longer, she finally reached for the steak and ripped a morsel that she swiftly plopped into her mouth. She savoured it and looked to Urhu with approval before popping some nuts in after it. A single strand of hair floated off and curled about the cup of wine Urhu had poured her, and she brought it close for further inspection. It had a rich, orange-gold colour that was very much to Seihdhara’s liking, and the smell - now that she sniffed it again - was not altogether bad. Carefully, she brought the cup to her lips to wash down the food. Its taste was just as pungent as its smell, but sweeter than Seihdhara was expecting. She took another sip and smiled approvingly before digging into the food and more readily washing the meat and nuts and fruit down with the sweet golden liquid. ‘It’sh very goot!’ She declared with a mouthful of food, before muttering a small ‘ooh, pardon me,’ and swallowing. She extended her now empty cup out to Urhu as she downed mouthful after mouthful of the well-cooked, lovingly-made food. Urhu did not only care for the animals she hunted it seemed, she was also a fine cook and one who put her heart into what she made - and Seihdhara could taste that.

“Yes, the snakey one. I think you should visit him when you can, he is a great host and a very friendly god, a rare thing,” she said, smiling somewhat proud at seeing Seihdhara enjoy the food she had made, and it also seemed like she had overgrown her suspicions over wine. The wanderer poured her some more and took some for herself as well, before continuing. “I will be honest, I have not met many gods down here, just him and Parvus, many of our siblings just don’t seem to enjoy each other’s company. I understand the feeling, but there are moments for being alone and moments for being with others.”

Taking a bit of starfruit and eating it, Urhu sighed. “So.. what was the whole thing with Cat-Heads and the such again?”

Seihdhara gulped more of the food down and took a sip of wine. She was curious about this Shengshi now, and this Parvus. She would have to have Urhu tell her about her encounters with them in more detail. For now though, she focused on the other goddess’ question. ‘Well, I guess I’ll start from when I found myself torn right out of my body…’ the saffron-haired goddess began.



If not for the natural happiness brought about by alcohol and food, Urhu would have been raging. She knew many others were somewhat messed up, but the things Seihdhara described were terrible, especially the burning of souls. She had seen so many memories from so many worlds when she entered this universe, to think of all that as gone… burned down… angered her. Albeit that was far from the only thing. “What kind of person eats a sibling like that? Like… wow. Messed up stuff!” she said in a slow manner, the wine clear in the redness of her face. “I hope you took, like, a loooong bath in the ocean after that. Your hair is too pretty to smell like the entrails of some god.” Seihdhara covered her face with one of her hands at the compliment and giggled, then she reached down and smelled a strand of her own hair.

‘I- hic. I didn’t. But I think it all burnt away. I-it was hot in there.’ She stroked her tresses absent-mindedly, ‘and, well. That’s the thing y’know. They’re not-’ she paused and bit her lip before taking another sip of wine. ‘I… I’ve been thinking, after all of this. And I realise now that…’she looked at Urhu fearfully, ‘you are my sister Rhu-rhu. B-because I want you. And like you. A lot. And you’re nice. But the others…’she looked away with a hint of sadness in her eyes and left the only logical conclusion to her words unspoken. She emptied her cup and extended her hand for more. ‘That Cat-head was the worst. H-he made me feel bad for wanting to live and w-wanting to be free. And for not wanting him to burn my memories a-’ she scowled suddenly, ‘and my soul. And would you believe it, he wanted to look into me as I burnt, know all my memories! I- hic. It’s not nice. But also- also. The souls.’ She grimaced, even the memory of their pain and suffering as they frayed and shredded causing her discomfort. ‘They were not normal. Something was very wrong with them - like they were slowly being peeled away. I don’t understa- hic. Understand w-why. I... have to fix that.’

Urhu reached forward and placed her hands on Seihdhara’s shoulder. “I know you will figure it out, so far nothing has stopped you… just delayed you a bit. But hey, let’s not dwell on these bad thoughts, they have their time, but now it's the turn of merriment.” she poured more wine for her sister, who nodded and forced a smile. “And you know what? If the other gods want to be stupid and treat your poorly, their loss, your company is a gift not a burden. Let them retreat to their shells and shrivel up all alone!” she took an angry sip from her cup, even coughing a bit. Seihdhara giggled at Urhu’s words and nodded vigorously in agreement, her sadness suddenly forgotten. She took a hearty drink from her cup and looked more closely at her sister. She was cute when she was drunk and red-faced. And angry. Seihdhara chuckled again.

”There are other gods who don’t act like blowhards. Shengshi, as I said… and I am sure Azura must be at least interesting to talk with.. And…” having a hard time to think about her nicer siblings, she banged the cup on the table and sighed. ”Anyway! Just know this, you… can stay in Nyeothay Tag for as long as you desire. I have spare bedrooms and more than enough wine! I can show you some places I found on this plane and we can like, hunt together if you want… And talk more... And stuff!” Seihdhara’s eyes, which had begun to show signs of drowsiness, brightened at the suggestion and she looked around at their homey surroundings.

‘I can stay?’ She asked incredulously. ‘You and me? We can hunt together? And go places?’ She stared at Urhu for a bit - whether the the drink was slowing her down and befuddling her or she was still registering her sister’s words, it was not quite clear - and then she extended a few tendrils of hair around Urhu and brought her into an embrace. She placed her head on her sister’s shoulder and sighed happily. ‘I’d like that. A lot. W-we should,’ she yawned, ‘go do that right away. I wanna see all the pretty places.’

Urhu smiled and hugged her sister back, it had been lonely since she left Shengshi’s palace, she had forgotten how much she had missed talking to others. ”I will order the boat to move, I have made a whole lot of landmarks on Galbar, and Nyeothay Tag can go to them by itself.” she said, waving her hand behind Seihdhara a bit to send the order to her boat. ”Are you sure you are not tired, though? This hug is far softer than the first!.” the wanderer giggled. Seihdhara’s eyes snapped open at the word tired, and she stood suddenly picking Urhu up and placing her on a shoulder while blinking furiously.

‘Me? Tired? No! We’re gonna see the pretty places!’She declared as she carried Urhu out of the kitchen and into the furnished room beyond. Seihdhara paused there and yawned again. All that drinking had really made her quite drowsy and she was not entirely sure she understood what she was saying or what she wanted. She noticed that she was carrying Urhu and was taken aback by that, wondering when and how that happened before quickly putting her down. A tendril of hair, unsteady and not moving quite as certainly and gracefully as normal, made its way out of the kitchen wrapped around two more bottles of wine. Seihdhara grinned suddenly and shoved one of the bottles into Urhu’s hands. She took a swig from the other bottle and sighed, her eyes relaxing visibly. ‘Ok. First. F-first we’re gonna. To see places we want to see first.’ Her eyes lit up and she took Urhu’s hand and dashed outside. She slipped and fell at the door but was up swiftly, unfazed. ‘The doggy! I wanna see the doggy first. Such a nice doo- A-and then allova- all ovtha ship. A-and-’ she looked at Urhu with wide eyes, tears brimming in them all of a sudden, ‘you said- my own room?’

Urhu did not know exactly what had happened as Seihdhara started darting around… carrying her around. All she knew was that she was somewhat intimidated and making mental notes about training, then she was back on the floor… then she was flying outside being pulled by her hand. ”The dog… sure? It's on the roof… Oh?” she stopped as her sister stared at her, Urhu gulping and nodding slowly. ”Y-Yes? I have a lot of spare rooms, i-if you want.” she caught herself stuttering… it felt like deja-vu, but she did not know why. Seihdhara scratched her head and nodded, raised a hand to say something and realised she was holding the bottle. Blinking a few times, she handed the bottle to Urhu. ‘Tha- that’s for you.’ She then saw that Urhu had another bottle in her hand, ‘I- I’ll take that one.’ And she plucked the other bottle with an uncertain strand of hair. ‘I think Rhu-rhu maybe… maybe we should rest first. B-before seeing the pretty things.’ The delirious saffron-haired goddess looked at her sister and, uncertain on her feet, reached out to her for steadiness. She seemed calmer now, but she had seemed rather calm in the kitchen too. ‘To bed. To bed. The old man said.’ She sang to herself and giggled, and then she seemed to remember something and she shuffled around in her endless hair for something. After a minute or so of rummaging about, she finally emerged triumphantly with a wooden flute. ‘R-Rhu! F-for you. Here.’ And she extended the wooden flute to her sister with an excited drunken smile.

”When did you...How... “ Urhu shook her head, she was putting too much thought into it. She took the flute, patted it until it was free from red hair strands, and then took a deep breath before playing a very plain sounding tune, neither good nor bad. ”Hah… It makes a nice sound… I don’t remember seeing something quite like it before, but I was for some reason expecting a higher pitch, but I like this.” she played with it a bit more, more for the fun of it than anything, then smiled. ”Thanks sister.” she then gently wrapped one arm around Seihd so she would have better footing, and started to guide her back into Nyeothay Tag. It was a good thing that at this size nobody had to take ladders, she did not know if she would manage to and she knew for sure Seihdhara wouldn’t.

Seihdhara allowed Urhu to guide her through the ship. And as the other goddess helped her, the impassioned Seihdhara told her how she would teach her a few good tunes to play on the flute, and how she had played it herself to some birds back in a pretty forest. And she looked about them and commented about one piece of furniture or a particularly pretty feather. ‘Y-you’ve made it so nice and warm Rhu. It’s warm.’ Seihdhara muttered and looked down at her sister. Just then Urhu moved to brush some stray hairs out of her face, and that caused her right sleeve to fall back slightly revealing an odd flame-red tattoo. Seihdhara let out a gasp and reached for her sister’s arm. ‘What’s that Rhu-rhu?’
Urhu looked down confused, then gasped in realization; the tattoo she had made as a memento of Seihdhara back when she arrived on Galbar. “When I came to talk with you after you fought the cyclops, you ended up staining my skin with some of your blood.” she explained, it felt weird to put it out in words. “When I arrived in Galbar, most of that blood was being washed away, but I decided that I did not want to fully erase that, as it served as a reminder of what the Architect had done... but also of you.” she added. “I know it sounds stupid, but I was somewhat paranoid about forgetting important things.”

Seihdhara’s eyes softened at her sister’s revelation, and she smiled a full-toothed, hearty smile, her eyes creasing up. ‘It’s not stupid. I underst- understand that. It’s beautiful. We have t-to protec-hic, our memories.’ She seemed to think on this and realise something, ‘I should get one too! To remember not to forget.’ She looked at her hands and the tattoos alread- her eyes widened and she looked frantically at the unmarked back and palm of her hands, and realisation dawned. Her original body… she fought the tears away and quickly smiled, not wishing to ruin the beauty and magic of what Urhu had told her. ‘WHEN I WAKE UP, I’M GETTING A BLOOD TATTOO TOO!’ She declared, pounding her chest with an arm and nearly knocking herself over. She steadied herself on Urhu again and wrapped an arm about the other’s shoulder. She had been at ease and peace with her sister before, but now there was something more. Her heart flitted here and there, but in her drunken state she could not quite work out what it was.

Urhu smiled seeing her sister shift in spirit again, she was glad Seihdhara had reassured her, but she blinked rapidly as she saw her examining her own hands. Something had clearly gone missing. “Hah, that can be arranged. I think tattoos would look great on you. But for now, remember what the old man said, to bed, to bed.”

Seihdhara laughed out loud and slowly nodded one too many times. Then she pointed ahead and repeated the proverbial old man’s words. ‘Yesh. To bed, to bed, the old man said, and wouldn stay for an aaanswer. This old man, he said one, he said knick knack on my tum, and a knick knack oh and knick knack eeh, this old man went flying free!’And as Seihdhara and Urhu made their stumbling way to the bedroom, the saffron-haired goddess babbled a number of rhymes she knew. In ages past and worlds not of this world, she had been a mother after all and had sang her children to sleep.

It was noticeable across the corridor that unlike in Shengshi’s palace, all rooms were of about the same size, including Urhu’s own room, the wanderer taking Seihdhara to the one left of that. “It’s pretty barren, sorry.” she told her, in reference to it being a bed, a window and a table. “I will take care of that later!” her tone was legitimately apologetic, Seihdhara would discover that the mattress however was quite soft and in a pristine state, Urhu doing her best to stop her sister from just dropping on the bed like a rock. “Comfortable?”

Seihdhara rolled about on the bed a few times, one of her strands wonkily placing the bottle of wine on the one table. Seihdhara looked up at Urhu groggily and nodded. ‘Yeh, nearly. Just need…’ and suddenly Seihdhara’s strands wrapped about Urhu’s waste and, lifting her gently, brought her to the bed where Seihdhara swiftly wrapped her arms about the other goddess and squeezed her like a great stuffed toy. ‘Now it’s… puhhfe…’ she muttered, already asleep. A small satisfied smile lined her lips and her face - after all she had seen since entering this strange new world - was utterly serene. In this universe of unknown dangers and treachery, she had found the one safe place. And she soaked herself in it.

The wanderer gasped as she was grabbed and went red when she found herself being hugged. She tried to gently leave at first, but the combat goddess was far stronger even when asleep. Eventually, she was slowly persuaded to just give up, she was drowsy from the wine and glad Seihdhara had a peaceful expression in her face.



Seihdhara woke up with a loud moan and a stretch. It would be noticeable that Urhu had left earlier, needing less rest than the reborn goddess. She rolled about sleepily, mumbling something about that hit the spotbefore pushing herself to her knees. Immediately a wave of dizziness caught her and she fell back to the pillow, grumbling something incomprehensible. Eventually however, wrestling with the blanket that had managed to get twisted and entangled about her, she managed to fall of the side of the bed. Using her hair for support, she pushed herself up and one cheeky strand reached for the waiting bottle of wine. Though dizzy and feeling nauseous, the saffron-haired goddess yet had her wits about her and swiftly pulled the rebellious strand away. ‘Oh no you do-’ and then her eyes widened as her stomach lurched and she knew she had to get out.

At speeds she did not think herself quite capable of in her state, she launched herself out of the room, through the corridor and well-furnished room, past the kitchen and exploded onto the deck where she swiftly made for the side of the ship - just about holding back the floodgates. Placing her head over the side, she emptied the contents of last night’s dinner into the sea. She watched with bleary eyes as the biological ejecta spread with the waves, and then suddenly exploded outwards as now odd orange fish with lizard-like features swam this way and little winged sprytes pulled themselves from the water and flew of that way. There were not many of them, a handful of fish and three or four sprytes, but it was enough to cause the hungover goddess to stare for a few moments.

With her stomach somewhat settled, she turned around and allowed herself to sink to the deck, staring at the cloudy sky. Tiny droplets of rain were wafting in the air, landing on her skin and fizzling away. Now that she thought on it, she had not seen rain on Galbar at all until now. Wherever she went the sun had beaten mercilessly down on everything. Only here were there clouds. She got unsteadily to her feet and made for the doorway leading into the boat’s interior. ‘Rhu-rhu!’ she tried to shout, but it only came out as a somewhat pained croak, ‘it’s raining!’

“That seems to be the case…” Urhu grunted, a bit startled, she had been focusing a lot on a large piece of paper over a wooden board, the goddess drawing something though what was being blocked. Trying to not look too directly at Seihd, she continued to sense the outside and then blinked rapidly. ”Why can I feel your essence on a school of fish? Oh… and…” she had to think hard, it felt like she needed to say something but it was something never said before. ”Ah. Good morning.” Noticing that Urhu seemed busy with something, Seihdhara approached.

‘Good morning to you too!’ she responded as she took a peek over Urhu’s shoulder, ‘I think those fish… well, I think they came out of all that vomit. You were right about drinking too much. Not nice. And there were these little flying things. Whatcha doing?’She stared intently at the drawings Urhu was making, appearing to invest some effort into focusing.

“Ah! This is nothing, forget it.” she says, suddenly placing the paper upside down with the wooden block over it. “Hmm! Reminds me of when I first drank, haha. Do you want me to prepare something to make you feel better? Vomiting fishes ought to be bothersome.” she stood up and smiled. Seihdhara looked distractedly at the paper, her eyes now filled with curiosity.

‘Are you sure you don’t want to show me? I promise I won’t laugh! And hmm, food?’she placed a hand on her stomach, ‘not feeling hungry. Stomach’s still a bit upset. I might end up throwing up more fish if I eat.’She laughed slightly at the idea, before wincing slightly and taking a seat. ‘You know, I talked a lot last night. But you never told me much about what you did. I feel like,’ and she glanced back at the mystery paper, ‘I feel like you’re working on something important. Won’t you tell me?’

Urhu bit her lip, took a deep breath, and then nodded slowly. “Fine, but first things first. I will make you some tea. Do you know it? I know one that helped me when I had drank too much.” she said, moving to the kitchen, the sound of cutlery and pots being moved around echoing through the boat. “You can look into what I was doing if you want, it is pretty flawed, however.” she said, not wanting to leave her sister waiting. Seihdhara looked curiously at the paper and considered waiting on Urhu to show her herself. But since she did not seem to mind (or perhaps did not wish to go through the embarrassment of showing her personally), Seihdhara turned it over carefully and looked. A figure of the same landscape was repeated four times on each corner of the paper, Urhu was not the best at drawing, but the images were good enough to give an idea. One had blooming flowers and gentle winds, one had clear blue skies and a strong sunshine, one had the land covered in snow, the other… was somewhat dead, about as withered as the cold one, but with nothing that made it distinct beyond that.

“And here you go.” she said, placing the tea filled cup on the table, a trail of steam being left along the way. “Didn’t I say it was nothing? It is quite underwhelming, really cannot make this work, especially with that spot between the hot and the cold season.” she sighed. Seihdhara continued to stare at the paper, clearly absorbed.

‘The bit between the hot and the cold season?’ she asked, looking at the representation of the dead landscape. She frowned and placed her finger on the blue skies and strong sun, before moving it to the snow. She liked the colours, it was a nice contrast.“Yeah. I mean, I am fine with theme of withering, but this one is just depressive, nothing but grey, brown, and leafless trees. It needs something more, something that fits between the plentiful of this one and the hardship of the last one, but I cannot figure out what.” Seihdhara finally put the paper down and took up her cup of tea, a deep frown on her face. She sipped the hot tea, the fact that it was still slightly too hot to drink passing her by.

Colours.

Her eyes narrowed as she thought. The sea was blue and vast, the sky too. Then endless snow, the white of that against the short dark days. Urhu was right, for between the blue and brightness and the white and darkness there had to be something. She took another glance at the complete picture again, extending a strand of hair to bring the page closer. Her eyes widened with curiosity and she placed the strand across the drawing of the dead landscape. Between the brightness and darkness… a sunset. Seihdhara beamed suddenly and looked at Urhu excitedly. ‘A sunset Rhu! You need a sunse-’ she exclaimed, in her enthusiasm forgetting all about the cup of tea and causing it to spill all over her. It hissed against her naked skin and swiftly blew up into a steamy cloud. She blinked a few times and looked down at the content of the cup. There was still some there. Drinking it up in one swallow, she stood up and brought Urhu close. ‘An explosion of colours, Rhu, just like a sunset. Glorious, beautiful, awe-inspiring. That’s what it needs.’ She remembered the little fishes that had exploded from her ejecta, ‘and purple! A very dark one - almost red. All those colours.’ Even as she spoke she seemed to see it and grew all the more excited for it. But then she looked at Urhu, worried that she was not making any sense. ‘D-does that make sense?’ To ensure that her point was clear, she gripped a handful of hair, which quickly hardened and came to a point, and she began scribbling on the representation of the dead land. Immediately the trees were coated in orange-red leaves, and the ground too was littered with them. Seihdhara lifted her hand and looked at her additions, then back to Urhu.

The wanderer had understood what Seihdhara had been going for from the start, leaning her head close and nodding at her wise words, now there seemed to be a true natural flow to the project. It does!she said in a loud, excited tone, “It finally does make sense… And it works so well. It's not only beautiful, but is also very calm, almost melancholic… yet this red… it's your red, of perseverance, of not giving up even in the face of the cold death that is to come once all leaves fall…” she smiled widely and Seihdhara blushed visibly. “Seihd… I don't even know… how to thank you! I spent so much time stuck on this, never seeing the possibilities… But you brought the missing piece!” The saffron-haired goddess took Urhu’s hands in her own and laughed.
‘Don’t thank me yet! Let’s do it. I want to make them. They’re going to be beautiful! How do you plan to do it? I wanna help! We should start on the- hmm,’ she frowned, ‘we can’t keep calling them “them” can we? Do you have a name in mind?’

”Hmm, guess I will need to go to my sphere. It's still a blank slate…” Seihdhara’s words about names caught her by surprise, but she nodded, seeing the point, ”Yeah, but I truly do not know what to do with that. I was thinking of just waiting and letting others sort it out.” the wanderer shrugged. Seihdhara nodded distractedly, her mind already fixated on getting to Urhu’s sphere as the next step in their endeavours to make the drawings into reality.

‘Alright! Three two one go!’ she shouted, racing out of the door and bounding into the air. A few moments later her head reemerged at the door, frowning. ‘Your sphere? Where’s that?’

”It is a weird place, to find it, you must get lost.” Urhu told the other goddess, slowly making her way out, to the deck, to join Seihdhara. ”Let me make Nyeothay Tag small, this way we can reach it faster.” and as she said so, the ship started to lose its size, the deck contracting, the structure shifting, until it was no bigger than a small boat where the two gods barely had space for themselves. The considerably larger Seihdhara found herself sat with her knees to her chest, looking about her in surprise at the shrunken ship. The wanderer raised her hand, the ship started to gain speed, the wind blowing against them with great strength, even if the deck itself was shielded from hazards. The saffron-haired goddess laughed as her endlessly long strands were taken up and swept far and wide by the force of the air. The continent below started to turn into a blur, and the mountains in the distance approached them as fast as a tree would approach someone running on foot. Seihdhara turned and watched as the mountains got ever closer, captivated by all that the others had been creating while she was fighting to exist.

‘Who made those?’ she asked, gesturing towards the mountains. ‘And, uh. If we don’t stop soon we’re going to crash right into them!’ She did not seem at all perturbed by this - if anything, she seemed excited at the prospect and muttered something along the lines of tu emu nu…

“I don’t know. I think they kinda come with the whole land raising act, or the whole throwing rocks at Galbar act, or the… well, you get the idea.” not losing speed, she gracefully made the ship slide to the side, gently avoiding the mountain by very small distance. “Hey, where did you learn those words?” she questioned. Seihdhara looked over at Urhu questioningly, before realising which words she meant.

‘Oh, you mean “tu emu nuyyu oh yeo kea hea ha ey”? I heard you say it in this dream once. I liked it and it’s been stuck in my head. I’ve no idea what it means though, sounds like a great battle cry though. Fills the belly with fire!’ She chuckled at this before raising her arms skyward and bellowing the phrase at the top of her lungs so that all of heaven heard it.

Urhu laughed at that, though also taking note about how she learned that from a dream, which was a bit worrisome, she look up at Seihdhara as she screamed it. “You show them. Heh. I guess in a sense it's a battle cry, I sure would love to imagine a field of warriors screaming that to the heavens.” she smirked widely. Seihdhara smiled mischievously at this and noted it.

‘If I have anything to do with it, you won’t have to imagine it for long!’ the warrior goddess said, watching the earth below. ‘As soon as I get the chance, I’ll teach it to others! In fact, I should teach it to you too! When you next find yourself in a pickle just smash the earth with a foot and scream it at the top of your lungs! But that’s for after we make the pictures real.’

“I will remember to do that, not usually my… battle cry, but I see its charm.” with a nod, she lowered the ship down, just over the trees canopies, as they navigated over a small woodland. Raising her hand slightly, the goddess made the ship lose some velocity and go down below the trees, quickly finding its path among the woods until it entered a mist covered area. Soon trees would stop appearing among the fog, and when they left it, they would be in an empty cavern world deep bellow Galbar. Shaking off her curiosity as to what Urhu’s usual battle cry was, Seihdhara watched as her sister navigated the small boat ever downward, through beautiful green woods and eventually to the cavern. Before the ship had even landed, Seihdhara gave off a great excited cry and leapt off the side, her hair trailing wildly behind her as she fell. Once on the ground, she turned and waited on the boat to settle and Urhu to emerge.

Nyeothay Tag gently landed over the ground, and Urhu swiftly jumped out of it, smiling as she saw how excited Seihdhara was, even though she herself was a bit anxious, as this seemed like a much more complicated task from her point of view. “I guess it's easy to see why I prefer to live on my ship, eh?” she joked, looking at the plain nothingness of the cave. Seihdhara looked around thoughtfully, her brows furrowed.

‘It doesn’t seem like your usual style to be honest. It’s not quite as… well-decorated or pretty as the boat. But I’m sure that once we’re done here it will be!’

“Yeah, I just did not know what to do with the place, but come to think of it, the place is in a perfect position to effect Galbar above, its… curious.” she stopped and picked up her picture, some trees and small plants had grown on the sphere, seeds stolen by the wandering fog gateway, she looked at them and focused on the first of the pictures…

Strong winds and earthquakes rocked the sphere as Urhu imbued it with the divine drive of change, as it started to slow down, one would notice that some of the small plants and even a few trees had bloomed together, petals floating on the now gentle breeze. “Phew! First one… Hmmm. Seems nice and pleasant! A bit mild, but also vibrant.” Seihdhara watched in fascination as the sphere turned and roiled, shaping and reshaping itself as the force of divine imagination was unleashed upon it. She grinned widely as it began to settle and the fullness of life ascendant lay resplendent in all its nascent beauty before her. It was beautiful! She leapt towards the previously barren plain, and wherever she stepped flowers and grasses and saplings sprung, the leaves of trees took on a greener hue and budding flowers sprung awake. As she went, the goddess left peals of laughter in her wake, and greenery and life. Moulding and feeling the energies Urhu had released, she was the uncontrolled vigour and zest that Urhu had planned and accounted for perfectly. The latter controlled and precise with a passion, the former wildly fervent and dangerous if loosed without guidance.

When the plain bloomed with nascent life, Seihdhara bolted into the air and ran through the sky, before diving right back to Urhu, whooping and screaming until - laughing giddily - she swept Urhu from her feet, spun her a number of times, and then set her back down. ‘The next one! The next one!’ Seihdhara cried.

“I was going to bring it about but someone swooped me up!” she said, pretending to be angry before laughing, placing a hand on Seihdhara’s side. “I don’t know where you store so much energy and excitement, but I am glad you enjoyed it. I guess strolling through the flowery fields is a proper reaction.” she then focused with the free hand, calling forth even more change towards the sphere, the winds and quakes resuming.

This time, the spirit of change was even more present within the act, hills would rise up from the floor and ravines would appear, the petals quickly scattered in the wind, which continued strong even after Urhu rested her hand, thunder echoed and rain started to pour, yet, as humid as the air was, it was still very hot as well, a fake light shining in the sphere with great intensity. Seihdhara’s hair seemed to brighten with the heat, tongues of flame rising and licking at the humid air about them before settling down, only to be replaced by others. She took a step towards the mouth of the cavern and breathed in the full, earthy aroma. It was strong, suffocatingly so! Rain spattered against her skin and fizzled, instantly becoming steam and emanating from her.

If before life had been nascent, it was now in full, glorious bloom. It moved and turned and fought and struggled, and Seihdhara found the sensation exciting and erotic all at once. It moved something within her, caused her heart to leap and her fingers to stir, filled her with an impossible urgency that told her do! It did not quite matter what, only that action was needed. But it was an overpowering sensation, so great that it crippled her utterly and she could do nothing but helplessly watch, glorying in it and crying out in anger at her inability to act. She could have thrown Urhu over her shoulder and gone running madly in the sun and rain, but she felt that she had done that before (was it yesterday?) and did not want Urhu to think her crazy. So instead she turned back around laughing giddily once again and swept her up as she had done before, spinning her until she felt she could go no more (and by all things, she could keep going!) and then set her down. Almost immediately the saffron-haired goddess stumbled about, laughed, then fell on her bottom. ‘I can’t feel my head. Rhu-rhu, that picture you just painted on the plain is…’ but she could not find the words for the impossible urgency and excitement rattling about inside her chest, and she left it at that. Her head still spinning, she allowed herself to fall on her back and just breathe it all in.

Urhu blinked at that, her skin still warm where the burning goddess had touched her, she was worried about Seihdhara, after all, she had just been reborn, she wondered if the effect of change on her sphere could be causing her trouble. She gently sat down on the ground facing the goddess. “Do you want to me to stop? You are looking tired, maybe you still need to sleep off that hangover from yesterday.” the wanderer said, worried. Almost immediately Seihdhara’s eyes shot open and she sat up, looking at Urhu like a wounded puppy.
‘Stop? No! Rhu-rhu, this…’ she looked at the world beyond the cavern outside, exploding with life and vigour, ‘this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever felt. It’s a bit… overwhelming. But in a good way. I want to feel like this forever!’ She took Urhu’s hand and stood up, helping the other goddess to her feet also and leading her to the mouth of the cavern where they could both watch and feel. ‘Do you feel that? Throbbing so urgently, pounding like it could never stop, like nothing could ever make it stop. It’s so… so full. And it’s growing. It’s overwhelming. It’s a… call to action.’ She turned back to Urhu, her eyes glistening with tears, ‘let’s keep going.’

The goddess took a deep breath, nodding to Seihdhara, she was not great at reading the feelings of others, sometimes she even feared the conclusions she took from that. Raising her hand again, she made it so the change in the sphere continued to go forward, mountains breaking from the soil, new coastlines forming, winds carried the summer heat away, and slowly, Seihdhara’s hair started to disappear among the leaves that mimicked it, the world of green slowly becoming a world of red, yellow and brown. Seihdhara watched as her hair wafted from the mouth of the cavern and bits of red tore away and flew into the great open sky, eventually settling on leaves, some were burned - becoming brown - others took on the light and shone - becoming yellow - others took the strand complete, becoming a brilliant sunset orange. Here and there some trees exploded in purple glory, others maroon.

As Seihdhara watched, her breath caught in her throat and she sat down, bringing her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms about them. She watched wide-eyed the incredible tapestry bursting out before them. She looked up at Urhu, who was staring into the distance, and the saffron-haired goddess was filled with awe and admiration for her sister. She shuffled slightly towards her and leaned her head against her sister’s thigh. And she watched the prettiest colours the new universe had ever seen.

Urhu blinked as she felt Seihdhara resting against her leg, it seemed she had suddenly become far less hyperactive, she wondered if seasons really changed people’s mood like that, nevertheless, her focus now was entirely on the work, just one season was left and then the Purlieu would be complete. The mountains that had just recently risen started to crash down back onto the ground, the sphere was now in a constant state of change, landscapes and forests shifting like very slow waves. The cold intensified and snow started to fall from the sky as the last leaves from the trees disappeared, covering the land in a mantle of white. The white blanket encompassed all, and the skeletal trees stood like so many gnarled fingers across the great landscape. The skies were grey, the earth was white, the trees were black, and darkness beset the world. Seihdhara shivered and a great cloud of air left her mouth. Her hair wrapped around her more tightly, and it wrapped about Urhu also, bringing her down beside her.

Strands extended outwards towards the trees and gathered hardened deadwood and brought it before the two goddesses. There the goddess piled it up and set it aflame so that a great fire rose up before them. Every now and again a strand would return and place a log or a twig into the flame, or another would dive into the tongues of fire to move a burning log this way or that. Against the winds and cold and blizzarding snows, the fire and Seihdhara’s hair provided warmth and safety. ‘It…’ Seihdhara mumbled, ‘reminds me of home.’ She looked over at Urhu, her eyes lost in thought. ‘It was always cold, and my pa always kept a fire going. We’d sit around it, all wrapped up in blankets. And pa would sit in his…’ her face fell and a single tear rolled down her face.

Urhu smiled, moving a bit closer to Seihd, rising her hand up to take that tear away. “I am glad that this reminds you of your home, I am also very happy that you enjoyed the seasons so much.” she looked to the horizon where white and black met in a contrasting clash. “Though as important as what was, is what is now. I know new memories do not replace old ones and neither am I proposing that, but, the expression you are making worry me, I much prefer the Seihd who lives here and now.” Seihdhara looked at Urhu, appreciative of her wiping away the tear. She listened attentively to the words and was silent when they were said. She looked out at the great snowy expanse and released a long sigh that manifested in a tremendous cloud of vapour.

Urhu was right. She had allowed the past to constrain her, allowed the unkindness of the other gods to make her more guarded. She remembered the innocent liberty of her youth, the bliss and laughter, the pleasures sought without hesitation or doubt. She had been sat like this on a snowy night when one of the grizzlies came to her and lit a fire and sat by her. She turned to Urhu, a light in her eyes, as she had turned to him then. ‘No, old memories can’t be replaced. But why not try?’ and with no further explanation, she leaned in and placed her lips against Urhu’s cheek. She lingered there for a few moments before setting her head on her other’s shoulder and closing her eyes. ‘This was good. Seasons you called them. They are lovely. It is good that you made them Rhu. They will make the world so pretty. They have already made your sphere so much prettier too.’ And with that she stared out at the wintry landscape and was silent, feeling her sister by her and all the spiritual warmth and safety she exuded, the warmth of the fire that kept the cold at bay, and the frozen coolness of winter beyond. They had done it.

The wanderer looked to her side and gently caressed the side of her sister’s face, smiling. “It feels nice. I always wanted to do something to my sphere, to act more like a goddess, so it was bothersome that I had yet to do something to leave my mark in this world. Now that I have, it feels like I let off from a weight, I feel at rest.” The saffron-haired goddess only smiled at these words.
‘You are an overthinker Rhu-rhu. You have so much to give - look at all this! It’s breathtaking - but you seem so full of doubt and hesitation. You shouldn’t be afraid to let go, to dance amongst the flowers and kiss the trees and whisper to the winds. Tell me - what are you so afraid of?’ and here Seihdhara lifted her head and turned fully towards Urhu, her hair stilled wrapped snugly about the both of them.

“Well… I would not say I… It's not so much being afraid, I do not find the will to do it, sometimes I just prefer to watch from afar, without, you know, creating bonds to these things. It's simpler that way.” Seihdhara cocked her head at these words.
‘I think it’s a good thing, to be able to sit back and watch from afar. A person can learn a lot, see a lot. But it takes courage to find the will and create. It takes courage to stop observing and decide to bare a bit of yourself to the world. In every creation, you reveal parts of your soul that are not visible - not even to Cat-head! That takes courage. And your soul is so beautiful that it would be a damned shame if you only watched, Rhu.’ Seihdhara stared at Urhu with adoration as she spoke, like a worshiper sat at the altar declaring all the love and admiration she could muster for her goddess. ‘Without this one creation I would not be so happy. Imagine how much happier so many others will be made by it. Imagine how much more joy you will bring into the world if you mustered the will! Imagine how much more joyous you will be.’

The wanderer leaned back a bit, as Seihdhara approached her with such intense stare and words. “W-Well! It is not like I plan on doing nothing… Ah… Well, you are right, and yet… No, forget it. I understand your words. Though you have nothing to worry about, I won’t ever fear doing what I feel must be done…” she wondered if that was true, if she knew what her intervention on the second sun would do to Seihdhara, would she still do it? She looked back at Seihdhara, just now noticing how close she was. The saffron-haired goddess was smiling slightly at Urhu’s words, but she could also see that she was conflicted. Smirking, mischief entering her eyes, she tightened her hair about her sister and got even closer.
‘Well Rhu, you’re going to have to forgive me but I’m about to do something that must be done. And it’ll no doubt cause you some trouble, but sacrifices must be made!’ And grinning widely she leapt from her place and pinned Urhu to her back. Seihdhara brought her hands either side of the smaller goddess’ head on the ground and looked down at her, biting her lip. ‘When the snow came we had to keep each other warm in the woods. We’d snuggle up together nice and warm, and we’d tell each other stories and play the flute, and then… then we’d…’ and she lowered her head towards that of the other goddess.

Outside the wind howled and the snows fell and darkness encompassed the Purlieu. But in the cave there was only warmth.


>Dwarves, get defeated and scattered by some weird elemental spirits.
>Also dwarves, 'there never were and never had been any gods. There were no spirits, there was no such thing as an afterlife. No religion, only dreamlike lies that they had been too entranced to ever see before. The mortal imperative of slowly awakening their brethren and showing them the truth was a heavy weight upon their shoulders.'



M.P: 8 | F.P: 25


&

𝔖 𝔢 𝔦 𝔥 𝔡 𝔥 𝔞 𝔯 𝔞




Time: The Day the Gods Came


When Seihdhara finally shook herself from the vision and opened her eyes, there was an immediate pensiveness to her. Urhu's words, though she had no idea what they meant, stuck with her. She muttered them a few more times, and each time she did she felt herself relax. They seemed to be a release of sorts. The vision seemed to highlight something she had somehow ignored - now that she considered it, it was rather odd that so many of the other gods had spoken so harshly or patronisingly to her. Dismissively even, or as though she were a burden. Sighing, the mere soul looked about herself to see where she now was.

It was a realm of scorching heat. Which made sense, seeing as this was Sartravius' domain. Ash - almost like soul ash only it was not so cold and did not hold that yawning, whispering emptiness - wafted about everywhere, and wherever she cast her gaze she saw fire. There were rocks also, and those that were not slowly melting into some lava lake had been blackened by soot. Rivers of molten magma made their way through jagged cracks and every now and again a great rumble would shake the earth as a volcano emptied its bowels. Floating not too far from her were her living strand and upper corpse. The strand seemed now to be the thickest it had been since coming into this world, gleaming with health and strength. Seihdhara approached it, and the strand huddled closer to her. Together, they floated through Sartravius' fiery domain.

For whatever reason, the angry lord of flame did not bother with the trespasser (in fact, was that snoring she heard?) and Seihdhara wandered about aimlessly, wondering why she had come here in the first place or how she thought she could make use of this affinity with heat that her strand seemed to have. As she thought, she allowed the strand to lead the way, and eventually, they found themselves floating above a bubbling lake of lava. The living strand stopped and Seihdhara paused also. Then the strand brought itself about Seihdhara and the corpse was brought so that it occupied the same space as did Seihdhara's soul. They stayed like that for a time, then Seihdhara let out an exasperated sigh. That's not doing anything! And so saying she moved away.

The realm rumbled once again and not too far from them another volcano exploded. Almost immediately debris and flames began to rain down upon the three. Seihdhara turned about just in time to see a great boulder smash the airborne strand and corpse. The living strand untangled itself easily enough, but Seihdhara watched helplessly as her corpse fell towards the lake below. Swiftly the strand and Seihdhara raced down towards it, but no swiftness on their part could prevent the inevitable. For a few moments the corpse floated on the surface of the lava, and then it was gone. The living strand snaked into the flames after the corpse, and Seihdhara uselessly tried to hold onto the unsubmerged end of the hair. Heat pulsed through the strand, but Seihdhara could immediately see that these flames were far too great. The strand was burning.

H-hey. Get out of there. Hey! Seihdhara tugged at the hair with ethereal hands, but it was no use. Then suddenly the strand was aflame, and what a bright flame it made! It was only momentary, and then it was sinking. No! Seihdhara shouted, going down after it and disappearing also beneath the bubbling surface. The physical flames could do little to Seihdhara’s soul, but helplessness washed over her as she watched her strand burning beneath. And then anger. Her soul shimmered with fury and suddenly took on a more physical, flaming form. About her the lava retreated and she gripped the burning strand with an all too physical grip, and she launched herself from the lake. In her hand the flaming strand cooled and was returned once more to its glowing form. The upper corpse emerged from the lake also, the strand having managed to wrap itself about it. There was not a single burn on it, but it seemed to glow with a fiery light.

Pulling the strand up and wrapping an arm about the upper corpse, Seihdhara’s soul flew clear of the lake and landed on land. It was a few moments before she noticed the figure before them. She looked upwards, and her gaze met the gaze of the fire lord. Ah. She thought the snoring had stopped. Ah. Danglyd- she began saying in her usual tone, but then the soul stiffened and stood straight. Sartravius. We meet again, it seems. The goddess spoke not with her usual energetic voice, but with a more polished tone that oozed charisma.

The mighty flame god sputtered spastically as his right eye burst open. Still half-asleep he looked rapidly around at his surroundings to find the source of the noise. Was it an intruder? Did someone come to do harm to him or his surroundings? He would crush whoever it was to dust if he had to!

”WHO DARES TO DISTURB MY~?”

Yet as soon as he became more or less awake, he looked down to see a simple floating sphere near the edge of his magma spring. After analyzing the voice that had spoken to him, as well as the message he received from the family goddess, he was finally able to recognize who it was.

”OH,” the god rumbled as he positioned his exposed torso towards the tiny sphere, ”IT’S ONLY YOU, DHARA. ARAE TOLD ME THAT YOU WOULD COME. SO WHAT IS IT THAT YOU POSSIBLY WISH TO SPEAK TO ME ABOUT?” Seihdhara visibly relaxed when Sartravius shortened her name, and a smile rippled across her ethereal face.
For a second there I thought you’d be yet another uptight god, Danglydong! She chuckled. Yes, I asked Rayster to speak to you on my behalf. It seems that I’ve managed to put myself in something of a tight spot and I’m rather weak at the moment. I have a feeling that you might be able to help me, what with all your heat. My living strand here seems to have a real affinity for heat, and my corpse there is left looking… well, pretty good when subjected to heat. So something tells me that there is a way to make use of this affinity to get my body, my strand, and my soul back together. Care to help a sis- she paused suddenly, her eyes hardening for the slightest moment, but then she continued easily, a fellow god out, Danglydong?

Sartr grumbled slightly at her response as he stroked his flaming beard. He looked at the sphere closely, then back at the surrounding world, and then back to her, before finally giving his own response.

”YOU WISH TO USE MY HEAT?” the flaming god affirmed to ensure he was hearing correctly, ” FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT? YOU HAVE QUITE THE BALL~ EH, TITS, TO REQUEST MY SERVICES IN SUCH A VULNERABLE STATE!” He paused again to reflect on this notion before smiling rather devilishly.

”BUT WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I’LL BE WILLING TO GIVE SUCH ENERGY OUT FOR FREE, EH?” he confidently boomed as he leaned his head upon his fist, ”ONLY A FOOL CAN BELIEVE IN SUCH AN UNSENSIBLE TRADE OFF. IF YOU WANT MY HELP, YOU MUST GIVE ME SOMETHING OF EQUAL, IF NOT BETTER, WORTH! THE QUESTION IS, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” Seihdhara cocked her head at this admittedly unexpected response. But now that she considered it, it seemed sensible that she pay somehow since she required him to render a service unto her.

I mean, I don’t have anything to give you right this instant... she paused and furrowed her brows in thought, and as she thought her eyes found their way to the famed sword. Her eyes widened - goodness, it was quite something on closer inspection. But, uh, she looked up quickly I’ll be happy to give you whatever you want once I’m back in shape! I couldn’t give you anything now even if I wanted to - as you recognised, I have come to you in a rather vulnerable state. And reflecting on that now, perhaps that was not the wisest of moves seeing as she had aided Rayster in beating up Danglydong’s pet. Last time she was at the mercy of another god it very nearly ended in disaster. She looked up at Danglydong and hoped he was not as uptight as Cat-head.

Sartr’s eyebrows shifted in place before leaning towards Dhara. Seihdhara stood still as his hand approached, but her living strand leapt away along with her corpse, and she just about saw them both leap into a lava pool. Carefully Sartravius scooped the sphere in his mighty hand and brought her up to his level. His burning eyes gazed straight at her spherical form, his tiny flames dancing around the tips of his flaming fingers.

”YOU HAVE TO BE MORE SPECIFIC,” the flame god teased with a wicked smile, and Seihdhara felt very suddenly uncomfortable in the god’s palm, ”BUT ALLOW ME TO BRING UP MY SUGGESTION. TO HARBOR MY FLAME MAKES ANY INVOLVED AN EXTENSION OF MY POWER. HENCEFORTH, YOU WILL BE BOUND TO MY SERVICES AND TO THEM ALONE UNLESS I SPECIFICALLY DECLARE OTHERWISE. BUT AS LONG AS YOU ARE WITH ME, YOU WILL GAIN FULL ACCESS TO MY FLAME AND MORE!” His massive face then leaned closer to Dhara suddenly. ”SO,” he announced boldly, ”DO YOU COMPLY WITH THESE TERMS?”

Seihdhara eyed the other god for a few moments, unsure if he was being serious or if this was some strange joke. Sooo… you basically want me to be your slave? She asked with a raised eyebrow. She poked her chest a few times with a finger, as if to emphasise how ludicrous that was. Because yeah… that’s not happening big boy. I said whatever you want, but within reason was the unspoken qualification, you know? She crossed her ethereal arms and looked at him defiantly.

But one could not defy the god of flame so recklessly. As soon as she finished, the heat that radiated off Sartr’s hand began to grow even hotter. Yet while Dhara would find the heat within the middle of the palm to be admirably tolerable, anywhere any attempt at escape - even if she attempted to float upwards - would have her subjugated to intense heat. She was essentially locked in what could only be described as a flaming prison.

Yet Sartr’s face did not contort into rage - but one of utter smugness. His face rose into a nefarious smile as his eyes locked onto his captive with immense glee. Seihdhara, meanwhile, was standing statue still, eyebrows furrowed in anger and ethereal fists clenched. She had been played for a fool, and she knew it.

”WRONG ANSWER.”, he replied teasingly as a shit-eating grin formed across his lips, ”BUT I ALREADY FIGURED YOU WOULDN’T COMPLY WITH IT. IN FACT, I HAVE ALTERNATIVE PLANS FOR YOU. FOR YOU AND ARAE’S INVOLVEMENT IN DISRUPTING MY SACRED PHOENIX MUST NOT GO UNPUNISHED!” A movement to the side suddenly caught the great flame lord’s eye, and Sartr glanced over to observe his magma bath. Floating there upon the molten surface was a body. Scooping it up with his free hand, he carefully examined the strangely unscorched corpse and what appeared to be an absurdly long strand of hair wrapped about it before looking back at Dhara’s sphere. Before long, he was able to connect the dots and added both to his makeshift prison.

”YOU HARNESS AN INCREDIBLE POWER, GODDESS OF COMBAT,”, the God continued as he raised his hand above his face, ”IMAGINE WHAT YOU COULD’VE BEEN ABLE TO USE IT FOR IN MY NAME. BUT ALAS, IF YOU WILL NOT SUBMIT TO ITS POWER.” His massive mouth opened past the embered hairs of his beard, revealing a molten gullet that bubbled in anticipation. ”THEN I SHALL ASSIMILATE IT INTO MYSELF!” he roared victoriously as bits of lava and fire sputtered from his mouth. And with that, his hand released their grip as he proceeded to eat her and her lifeless corpse. Seihdhara raised an ethereal hand above her as Sartravius’ mouth approached. There was no escape, it seemed.

You absolute fucker! Were her last words before she disappeared into the fire lord’s enormous maw. With one great gulp the giant god swallowed the shadow of a goddess and her physical remains.

And then there was silence.

Though volcanoes erupted and rocks sank into molten rivers, and though ash fell and Sartravius now snored and now roared and now stretched and yawned, there was a certain silence. And in that certain silence, if one listened carefully, a footstep would manifest itself - subtle, for the tremors it sent out through the world were not as mighty or all-encompassing as the tremors sent out by one eruption or another. But it was there, step after step, echoing from a far off and distant place - and yet oddly near. And maybe they were not footsteps, but more of a…

Pounding.

And in the shifting flame and bubbles of Sartravius’ great belly, a shadow shifted and moved. And in the redness of the great red burning god, there emerged a brighter flare, a burning flame that fed on fire. It spread in all directions, and the calm belly was suddenly disturbed by currents and waves large and small. They rippled and pulsed and moved with an energy all their own. And as a wave came in and crashed, there was very suddenly a great tearing sound. And there, out of the hole in the belly of the beast, a Saffron-haired goddess stood and stared.



Wearing the Inside Out


Because she was alive. The goddess' hair slowly emerged from the Sartravius’ belly, extending in all directions like a second sky (were it not so that Sartravius' domain had no sky to speak of). Parts of it, still searing hot and aflame, wrapped about her body and arms like clothing. The goddess stood in the god and stared blankly for a few moments, her feet still submerged in his flame and ichor. She raised a hand to her head and felt the strands, burning and pulsating and alive. It felt different somehow though. Slowly she began to remember things - dragging the corpse across Galbar, the great pool of ichor that had formed, falling from the sky, floating in space after Orvus. And Narzhak. She had been asleep when he passed them by, but the strand had witnessed it all. Her eyes softened at the memory that now became her own. Was it out of kindness that he threw her out of the laughing maniac's way? Perhaps she would ask him when next she saw him. Or perhaps it was a thing beyond words and would be marred if subjected to them.

And now she understood why the hair felt different. The memories. They were weaker now. Before the Door there had been a fullness and strength and character, now it was diluted. They were still there, the memory of things they had been through together, but only a single hair strand's worth. It was truly just her now preserving all that she was. Her in the belly of the beast. Suddenly, instinctively even, she released a great cry. And it was, ‘TU EMU SOH OH YEOKEAHEA HA EY!’

Then the goddess restored leapt and, landing with a roll, stood with her back to the gored god. She turned back to him with a small smile. ‘You’re a dick, Danglydong. But I guess I always kind of knew that. Next time you want to eat me, just ask boyo,’ and with a mischievous wink the goddess leapt out of the god’s reach. She turned and looked at him, surveying the damage her emergence had done.

To have a goddess burst out of his own chest was an experience he would never forget. Sartr bellowed in absolute rage and fury as he held his stomach with his own hand. He was now standing fully upright, once again showing his ruined pride and glory as he glared towards the reborn Dhara. But as he emerged onto the blackened volcanic rock, he found himself weak to his stomach as he vomited up excess magma tainted by this cursed individual.

Yet his rage and fury momentarily subsided as he issued one gurgling chuckle at the shame of his current shape. ”CLEVER GIRL...” the flame god blurted out before he issued another discomforting groan, ”YOU GOT ME REAL GOOD. BUT WHAT MORE COULD I’VE EXPECTED FROM A GODDESS SO FIERY AND TENACIOUS AS I...?” Seihdhara’s smile waned at the other god’s pain, but she chuckled at his words.

‘You had me in the palm of your hand Danglydong, but greed got the better of you this time around. I had something good in mind as a reward for you - there were many different ways I could have made you groan. But for today, that’s the groaning you got. Luck of the draw and all that. I would stay and care for you, kiss your tum-tum so the hurt would go away, but there’s no guaranteeing you won’t try your antics again - so,' and she bowed dramatically, 'until we meet again Danglydong. May our future clashes prove more… congenial,' she considered blowing him a kiss, but decided that she had teased the poor fellow enough. With a simple wave, the goddess turned and hopped from rock to rock and into the air. And her hair fluttered outwards very suddenly, spearing every horizon.

And Seihdhara flew.

It had been a lucky escape, she admitted to herself. Had it not been for this strange affinity for heat who knew what would have occurred when the fiery god ate her. These were far too many close calls for comfort. She would not permit herself to be so vulnerable again. And her memories…

The other gods had not been as lucky as her coming into this world - they had forgotten, or had been forced to forget. Seihdhara frowned, now worried. What would have happened had Danglydong succeeded in consuming her? And what would have happened had she been destroyed by that Cat-head? Her eyes narrowed at memory of him. It had been odd in his presence. She had not felt like herself. Apologising and grovelling before the one who kept her prisoner. It had come out from some sincere regret at the time, but as she reflected on it now she could not help but feel somewhat disgusted. She shivered and anger pulsed through her.

But focus - her memories. Had Cat-head destroyed her when she was weak and helpless and unable to defend herself, then they would have been forever lost. It was important to prepare for that possibility - and for the possibility that in some distant future she could pass through the Door again, but without her memories. She would have to leave a trail that she could find, a record that could return her memories if the worst were ever to happen. She rubbed her nose thoughtfully.

Releasing a small breath, the goddess accelerated towards Mount Muspell. But she would have to be careful in the manner she set about leaving this record - it would have to be done in such a way that her more sinister sib-
Siblings? A flash of anger shot across her face. No, that did not sit well with her, not anymore. Companions? Colleagues? Gods.
It would have to be done in such a way that more sinister gods could not mess with it. She would have to think on the matter more in due time. But for now, it was time to get out of here.

Too weak to follow her out, Sartr fell to his knees as he reeled in his own molten ichor leaking down his gut. However, as he looked up to watch the reborn Dhara leave the world of Muspellheim behind, something suddenly caught his eye. Watching the patterns of her hair, the flame god discovered a sign so clear that it may as well have been an inscription flowing in the blazing wind.

And it was… “Ember of the Great Sword”.

𝔖 𝔢 𝔦 𝔥 𝔡 𝔥 𝔞 𝔯 𝔞




Time: The Day the Gods Came


And I floated like a distant dream
When there were none looking to see

And it was a dozen claps and beams
Across the shore and into the stream
I floated like a distant dream

And the mind perceived a simple thing
The heart, it danced and sang with glee

As we often used to dance and sing
Where you held the blade and hid the sting
I floated like a distant dream

There on that yonder red river bank
You gush and gush and gush and- flee

Till you breathe your last and break your flanks
And sink where all the other ones sank
Where I floated like a distant dream




And she knew a hotness beyond heat, so intense that the difference between hotness and coolness became indistinguishable - a heat where heat itself let up, fell down, and lost its meaning. And when meaning collapsed there only remained what meaning you had created for yourself in yonder days and times when ease was abundant and the promise of hardship was far and easy to shrug off and wave away like so many irritating flies. But that self-created meaning, for those who had taken the time and care to carve it when it seemed unneeded would prove to be the final crutch - the only crutch. If you did not stand on that, you in reality stood on nothing, on an illusion that slipped away the moment everything you thought so real became what it truly was: immaterial.

You are dead, and that is all that you are.

Strength rippled through her and she rejected the words with defences she never thought would prove so necessary. Because you will not kill me, much as it would please you.

I will teach you to respect your elder.

An inward flinch, a furious gaze. They who looked with the outer eye only, saw little. A massive eye stared unblinkingly as if hoping against hope that all its great one eye could see would make up for the closed eyes of soul and mind and heart and being. But for all your seeing you could never see me could you? For all your gawping eye.

My cause is beyond your understanding, but my instructions are not. When I give them, I expect that they will be obeyed.

So proud of your great big eye. So insistent on blind obedience. And this purpose you have violently carved into the minds of the free spirits you fished from the great beyond, this illusion you have given as a false crutch too fool those who attempt to see. For all your great big eye, you truly do hate sight don't you?

Child! This denial that you are experiencing is a most frequent thing.

Don't you 'child' me. What have I done for you to take such a tone w-

Equality in death! It is not a matter of whether your life was fulfilling, or whether you were a god or a tiny vermin. All must be subjected to the cleansing fires here. You are dead, and the dead must make way for the living. This is the only way.

No, not dead, I reje-

When you enter the Pyre, your thoughts will manifest to my eyes and I shall be elucidated. In that final moment, I will understand you. But before then, it seems unlikely.

I won't let you. You can't look i-

The fortitude of your frame, the blood in your hair and flesh, the very air that you breathe. I gave you all of this!

Not true. You're a liar. Why are you ly-

Oh, Seihdhara, you fool! I should’ve realized it sooner. You’re still dead.

W-what? No. Go away. I'm n-

Things fall apart, and souls do not last forever. Those that are not yet so decayed, like you, I feel no need to rush. Eventually all dead things must find their way into the pyres.I'm n-You are but a pale mockery of life, a lingering vestige. Once the death of body comes, the death of soul should not be protracted for long, lest they decay and become like the most wretched of specimens.H-Before I brought you here, you were nothing but a worthless echo, a formless shadow, doomed and trapped in the Beyond. Such a waste.Yo-Ugh, I knew I should’ve dragged your corpse back up from that lake of blood you left behind. I am not about to take any chances here. You are to remain with me until we can get you up and alive again, ok? Don’t put yourself in more danger than you already are!Notyourchildyo-The Vortex of Souls brings all of the dead here, and you are clearly dead.Ugh, I knew I should’ve dragged your corpse back up from that lake of blood you left behind.Call it misfortune, or happenstance, or destiny that killed you and brought you here. You are dead.Before I brought you here, you were nothing but a worthless echo. Such a waste.Fuck you. And you. And you especially.What a-Now that you are dead, there is no leaving this place. There is no more acting, no more doing anything anywhere else, no second chances. The only things left for you are rumination, and then taking the final step.Oh, Seihdhara, you fool!Equality in death!

Stop. Back o-

You cannot escape. There is no choice to be had in that all must find their way to the pyres.The fortitude of your frame, the blood in your hair and flesh, the very air that you breathe. I gave you all of this!Your purpose is nowhere near so grand as you purport; your lot was to die, so that I could look into your pyre and see you, and know you. Or perhaps there is no purpose at all. You are incorrect in your convictions, Seihdhara.Ugh, I knew I should’ve dragged your corpse back up from that lake of blood you left behind.I will teach you to respect your elder.One does not write their own destiny, or simply decree that he is beyond death.Such a waste.Fuck you. And you. And you especially.Can you just-It is disappointing to see you so unable to grasp my perspective or look beyond yourself, but I hold hope that the others are more mature. I can see that you will not be swayed, yet neither do your words or threats change my mind. Here you shall remain, until the end of your days.
Here you shall remain, until the end of your days.
Here you shall remain, until the end of your days.
until the end of your days.

Have you ever heard the screams of a dying god?

You may well not be expecting to hear this of all things, but they sound unexpected. No god expects to die, you see. It's not something we do, you know? When I was cloven in two, I admit that it was pretty unexpected. Gods are not meant to die - but if they were to, I would be the one that didn't. And yet I did, didn't I. I remember only that the world was very bright, and then my legs were falling down beneath me. I was still alive then - what was the loss of hips and a few feet? And then pain exploded behind me, I might have said something - umph or some such sound with meaning beyond words. And then I fell right out of my body, looking down at myself, blood exploding from the gored bald head as though my hair was back and as living as it had always been. And it tumbled awkwardly earthward like some tattered and broken ragdoll. That's how I died. My lot was to die. My purpose was nowhere near so grand as I purport; my lot was to di- w-what?

What?

Oh, Seihdhara, you fool!Equality in death!I will teach you to respect your elder.You are dead, and that is all that you are.that is all that you are.that is all that you are.that is all that you fucking are.
You are but a pale mockery of life, a lingering vestige.Before I brought you here, you were nothing but a worthless echo, a formless shadow, doomed and trapped in the Beyond. Such a waste.

Pale... mockery. Such... waste.

Tu emu soh oh yeokeahea ha ey

Rhu?

Oh, Seihdhara, you fool!

Tu emu nuyyu oh yeokeahea ha ey

Tu?

Tu emu soh oh yeokeahea ha ey

Tu emu soh?

Tu emu soh oh yeokeahea ha ey

oh yeokeahea ha-

Tu emu soh oh yeokeahea ha ey

ey

Tu emu soh oh yeokeahea ha ey

Child! This denial that you are experiencing is a most frequent thing.

TU EMU SOH OH YEOKEAHEA HA EY!


God of Death, Prince of Astral Fires

&
𝔖 𝔢 𝔦 𝔥 𝔡 𝔥 𝔞 𝔯 𝔞



The CyKhollab that was very nearly the LAST CyKhollab

Be Grateful Peasants

Time: The Day the Gods Came

This soul was different.

In the mess of screaming, wailing, gibbering souls, in the cacophony of self-righteous announcers, tyrannical dictators, energetic orators; this soul - it was different. It was not so much that it was less or more rambunctious than the others - indeed, it did not shout the less or lash out with inferior fury as an ethereal soul now latched onto an arm or an impish spryte seated itself atop its head or yet another took grip of its naked leg and hugged it for dear life. And no, it was not the mere fact that, unlike others, this soul did not leave a flaking trail of soul-stuff in its wake - though that was indeed rather notable if not entirely unique. No, the most immediately noticeable difference was as a bristling flame, white and orange and red all at once. And yet it was not simple as a bristling fire, this soul actually aflame. And so as she swatted the impertinent souls that thought to latch onto her, all that she touched swiftly burned away in pain and glee. Indeed, seeing in her a far swifter salvation than the lengthy way to the Pyres above, they all gravitated about her, tearing and pulling and lurching and biting to touch her - hotly they came, fired their gleeful cries and passed; hotly charged and broke at last! And ultimately - ultimately they disappeared. But between the tug of the Vortex and the pulling and tearing and resolute charging of her fellow souls, Seihdhara could hardly think up or muster an escape. And so even as she fought with all her fury (which was, admittedly, far inferior to what she remembered herself capable of) she ascended ever higher and ever closer to the Pyre. And even as she looked to the fires above, and even as she burned endlessly she could not help but wonder - could... could that which was already aflame be set aflame? Perhaps it was the one cohesive thought she mustered in between the frantic get off mes and not there you don't you cheeky buggers, though she knew not from where the thought came or from where the sense of deep and growing unease emanated.

So it was that Seidhara was raised up, up and above Galbar and all of those lower celestial planes that hovered just above it likes halos. Her spirit passed the boughs of the World Tree - and she looked upon the enormous thing and was filled with awe. And she determined that she would visit this place in time and make herself a great tree also so that she could show it to that Twigirl. Yes, she liked trees. A lot. And as the World Tree disappeared from sight, the breathtaking remnants of Asceal's shattered comet emerged, and beyond it the cold emptiness of space. And Seihdhara looked at the shards all over the place and the destruction, and she knew that it had been from here that the crystals that struck her came. It seemed to her somewhat callous of Buzzkill Sealy to create an explosion like that just so there could be some light and fireworks. But also surprising! Maybe she was not so uptight after all! And even as she thought this, the invisible force that pulled at her refused to yield. She was dragged ever closer to the distant stars, and she felt the grim aura of the Sky of Pyres growing in her mind and heart as it pulled her closer at an ever increasing speed. Here, after being swept away by the currents for so long, the gaps between her soul and those of the maddened others began to grow. Soon the space was such that she batted off the last of them and there were no more within close enough reach to scramble onto or claw at her, though a few dozen were still travelling close enough for her to vividly see.

Another difference between her own fiery spirit and those of these other souls soon became clear: the crumbling spirits were experiencing far greater forces. Horrific ripping resulted here or there when they tried too hard to fight the Vortex. All of them were dragged directly towards some of the nearest stars. But as for Seihdhara, the tug was not so overpowering that she was utterly unable to steer. It was like she was caught in a river that was dragging her towards her inevitable end where downstream there was a fateful waterfall. Struggling against the mighty current to go back upstream was ultimately futile, but she could still swim left or right and choose just where she fell. There were many stars nearby with different hues and intensities, and then there were of course great black voids between the lights, where nothing drifted save for strange clouds.

Seihdhara did not like the look of those great black voids in the slightest, and so steered herself gently towards the closest of the lights. As she approached she saw that they appeared to be - as she already knew on a level - great fires into which the souls were being swept in by updrafts. Huge billowing plumes of dark vapor emerged from the flames and surrounded the pyres as smoky coronas, and something flaky to the touch yet nearly imperceptible was wafting everywhere here--ashes. There did not seem to be much choice involved for these spirits being incinerated. At first, Seihdhara did not know whose work this was, for the essence that she felt and the hand that was at work in all of this was not one she had crossed before. But as she cast her memory back to her entrance into this world, she vaguely recalled the gods she had not met but of whom the Ugly Old Ogre had impregnated her mind with knowledge. What was his name? K-Ky-Kha-Kho…

She frowned deeply and began to exhibit a greater degree of resistance to the flow, swimming slowly but surely to whatever shore this torrential flow had. Aye, she did not like the look of those black voids in the slightest, but she utterly despised being unable to make her own way, being pulled along whether she liked it or not towards whatever lay at the end of this all. And so she pushed away from the pull and and made for the darkness. And yes, there was something not quite comforting about that darkness, but at least it was her choice to head there. No pull, no matter how overpowering, would be forcing her anywhere. She was the absolute master of herself wherever she went and however she was and in whatever state she found herself. Eventually she found that she was coated in darkness and free, her burning soul freer now than it had been since being torn away from her body. Here and there she heard a whisper, but Seihdhara was not afraid. Still, she was no fool and, throwing her hand outwards, a great gleaming soul-blade appeared.

Safe for now upon the dark and empty ‘shore’, she watched on as more and more of the maddened and broken souls were dragged forth and condemned to the flames. Upon closer examination, those flames within the massive pyres were not at all like any mundane fire she’d ever seen before, nor even like her hair! Like the dead souls themselves, these flames did not breathe. And Seihdhara did not understand it. She did not understand what had caused these souls to become like this and what had caused this fire to… well, it was dead. A dead fire. The very thought of it was horrifying, but seeing it with the eyes of the soul as she did now sent a slithering coldness through her, and it was like no cold she had ever felt. A small eddy of smoke wafted toward her, but where she had naturally expected to feel some warmth she instead felt nothing. The light of her radiant soul dimmed just a bit as the smoke passed through her. And she knew in that instant that the fire - that fire there - promised a truer death than simply being flung from her body. To step into that would be the true end of Seihdhara - but for now, why! She yet lived!

And though everything screamed at her to leave this place at once, her curiosity and horror had been piqued. She wanted to know what had caused these souls to become like this. She wanted to know why they were being flung into the dead flames. Even this smoke - what was it? Her soul-blade in hand (though she did not know whether it could protect her against what this place had), she ventured forth and looked. And her eyes were quick to find the greatest flame. It drew her like nothing else, but she resisted and thought that to go anywhere near it would surely be lethal. But then she smirked, and without a second thought she flung herself forth and headed right for the great dead eye.

Traversing that void between the stars took time. As she drifted closer and closer to the greatest and brightest of all the star-pyres, she had time to contemplate her choice. Great nebulous clouds of smoke and ash stood in her path, but in this ethereal form she passed through them unimpeded. Finally, as she came nearly upon the star, she witnessed a colossal head of fire. The visage was a twisting bestial thing, filled with all the furies innate to the flame. The great head of flame did not seem to see her, busy as it was staring deep into the howling depths of that gigantic star, but on seeing it Seihdhara knew him immediately.

Oh! I know you now, she muttered to herself, you’re that... that Cat-head! Seihdhara declared once her slight surprise at seeing the fiery feline head had subsided. So you’re the one who did all this? And as she spoke she surged towards him until the far larger god was right before her. Why are they all so broken? She asked candidly, and this place and all of it - it all seems horrible! The fires, the souls, the smoke - something is very wrong. Why? She looked at the great head for some time, her question lingering between them. But there was no response and Seihdhara had the distinct feeling that the other god had not quite registered her presence, his eyes fixed on the great star-pyre before them. He seemed to be muttering something to himself, but Seihdhara could not quite make it out and, being a soul, she could neither nudge nor pull at her sibling to get his attention. Indeed, despite her flamboyant colour and fiery nature, it seemed like he only registered her distantly as yet another soul waiting to burn. Shaking the soul-blade in her hand into dust away, she surveyed the countless souls being sweeped willing and unwilling into the dread dead flame. She watched them, silently, for longer than she cared to count. Shedding themselves and weeping, crying out for an end - and yet... no, she could not say they were alive, the shadows of life perhaps - and yet…

There came to her then the image of her body, shattered and broken. Falling like a battered ragdoll away, all fire, all dignity, all strength… gone like ash blowing off in the aftermath of the firestorm. She trembled at the memory of that terrible unliving - joyless - husk. And the husk was gone but she - why, she yet lived! It throbbed within her, ceaselessly, stubbornly, with a fury and rage, with an eternal fervour and vigour, with an excitement that whispered - that urgently pitched - for her to go, just go! Now! And she trembled once more, but not out of cold or horror, but so great was the fire that wished to be loosed. She needed to do something - this life. Clenching and unclenching her ethereal fists wildly, Seihdhara looked back at the near-but-oh-so-distant Cat-head and knew that there was nothing in that vacant head for her. Not now anyhow, for this god was elsewhere, preoccupied utterly in a world entirely different where she could neither reach him nor he hear her. And so she reached out - carefully, oh so carefully - and fished a soul from the impossible surge. It cried out and burned under her fiery touch, and she realised that it was not crying out in pain - not entirely at least. But he burned slowly - slower far than he would have burned in the pyre - and so she had the chance to inspect him, look into him, observe his innards more closely.

Yes. Life. This was the stuff it was made of. Without this the husk was nothing - all the strength, all the great martial feats. They all started here at the wellspring of each individual life. Were they separate then?- the husk and the soul, that was. Or was there more? She looked more closely at the soul in her grasp, but only twisted her nose at the strange way in which even as he burned bits and pieces were peeling away. And she knew then that burning was in fact a mercy, for this soul was ill and dying slowly - oh so slowly! But why? And no amount of staring into him, or the one after him, or the one after her, would grant Seihdhara an answer. Tell me! She finally demanded in exasperation, grabbing yet another soul. She screeched and clawed at the goddess’ face as the flame-souled mistress of battle questioned and demanded again and again.
TELL YOU WHAATT?! The burning soul at last screeched, gasping beneath the effort of summoning coherent thoughts and sculpting them into words that left her ethereal, ever-shifting, throat.
Why? Why are you fading away? Why are you… dying. The soul looked at her wide-eyed, unable to understand or comprehend the question.
Am...am I… alive? Seihdhara scoffed at the question.
Don’t you know? You are life! The soul seemed only perplexed by this.
But...how can that… be… it managed as it slipped away from Seihdhara’s grasp and disappeared into the illusory torrents. Indeed, how could it be? How could it be when they were all so devoid of life. And for all their emptiness they all still held onto different forms, onto… Seihdhara’s eyes lit up and she smiled faintly.

Memories.

She looked up at the smoke, and she knew it for what it was now. Knew why it had left her cold. The remnants of life, black and formless. There were no memories there, nothing at all. She rose up to it then, her eyes distant and withdrawn. And for a moment there the smoke of the greatest of the sky-pyres seemed to her a great obsidian bear, the light of the fire reflected beneath it as red flowing water.


A Visage Dark, A Memory Stirs


And she who was and had always been Seihdhara suddenly knew the Bear Over Red Water. And all distance and pensiveness left her and her soul-eyes were filled with wonder and glee, and if souls could cry then Seihdhara shed tears. And the flames about her grew ponderously large and took on a heat that defied the wintry death of the flames of the sky-pyre. She extended a single ethereal flaming hand, she smiled. And her brother saw her then.
It is given you, all of you, by the Bear Over Red Water. And it was a momentary thing only, but for that moment a nebulous flame-red hue seemed to wash across the velvet fabric of heaven, awash as it was with pearly stars. Seihdhara looked below, and Cat-head looked above, and there was a silencing of souls then. The goddess with soul aflame grinned. You had a good idea Cat-head. But this isn’t the solution. The question is why do they peel. You do your thing - but me, I’ll find out! And so saying, the goddess turned and surged off with the billowing smoke into the endlessness of the void and- ah. That was a funny looking seal there! Only, rather than drawing closer to it, Seihdhara found that she was very suddenly being drawn back. Furrowing her brows and blinking in confusion, she looked behind her to find that the gaping maw of the dread pyre was yawning after her and growing larger by the second.

That… was not good.

As she had done before, she made for the shore - if one could call it thus - and escaped the relentless tug, leaping back into the dark clouds. Once there, she dashed off again with greater determination and fury. Her speed was greater than the star could hope to pull helpless souls into its cavernous maw. And yet, just as the strange red seal came into sight once more and freedom was within grasp, she found herself drawn back yet again. Frustrated, she fought free of the flow yet another time and gave an irritated flaming fucktwit. It was quite apparent that this place drew souls in whether they wanted it or not, and no exertions on her part would allow her to fly free…

Unless…

Her head turned abruptly until she found the form of not-so-talkative Cat-head again. Surely he would know how she could free herself of the insistent pull of this place. Without further thought, she rushed down towards him and shouted his name so loud that every soul round every star could hear it. But in truth that was merely her being her excitable self, for it was to the mind of the lord of death that she spoke and not to his ears. Your help, death god! I need it. Wake up.



He knew now that all judgement founds its roots in ignorance and assumption. In the depths of the inferno before him were the ghostly vestiges of liars, traitors, thieves. Murderers. All of the ‘evil’ and ‘degenerate’ scum that other gods might have been wont to judge harshly, but not Katharsos.

How could he judge them when their every thought and moment were laid bare before his eyes, unravelling one by one as the memories were committed to flame and smoke? To look into the depths of the flame was to empathize with the dead in a way that he would never be able to empathize with any who yet lived. These souls needed no punishment, and Katharsos needed no explanation or apology from them; everyone was just a product of happenstance, a leaf caught adrift on the currents of a stream. Life was their blissful, or tragic, or wild, or calm journey down that river.

And death was equality.

death god

A faint echo roused the lord of death and made him break his gaze away from the depths of the flame. He turned from the great pyre, only to see another flame. He might have squinted closer to see if it were merely one of his other distant pyres (for at this time there were many ablaze, and he could not hope to watch over them all at once) but the hue of her flame made such a determination easy. This was no pyre, for the flames in this little spark still had a flickering heartbeat, a life and a warmth to them. It was a faint heartbeat, though.

There was a gentle force that brought Seihdhara away from the darkened distance of the proverbial shore. In an instant she came to be right before the colossal head of fire, and perhaps to her surprise, the tiger-faced god radiated some small amount of warmth. Enough for her to feel, at least. She closed her eyes and basked in it, and it seemed to strengthen her.

He looked at Seihdhara’s soul and contemplated her in silence for a few moments, the hue of his flames gently shifting from a dull orange to a soft gold. The tiger’s face unceremoniously sloughed away and reformed, and now she was looking at the visage of something more like a monkey.

”Death god,” he finally echoed. ”Is that all that you see?” The goddess, he eyes open once more, grinned and rubbed the back of her head sheepishly.

Not really no. I just didn’t want to go in and call you Cat-head. You seem like the serious sort, and last time I joked about with the serious sort I got… well, it didn’t go too well. And something tells me that, right now, I’m in no position to be angering anybody!

Her strange mannerisms earned little more than a puzzled look, but it didn’t remain upon the simian face for long. ”Sometimes I see blurs, hear echos, and think that once I was another thing. But now you are right, and this is all that I am. And you are dead, and that is all that you are.” Seihdhara considered the other god with raised eyebrows.

Ah, so you also can’t remember things from before the Door. Rhu-rhu is the same as you. I wonder how many of the others are like that too. It’s a shame, don’t you think? Not being able to remember anything. D’you reckon the Old Ogre did it on purpose? Rid you of your memories that is. Whatever his reason, he didn’t take mine away - or maybe he couldn’t! I’m pretty stubborn that way you know? She grinned and hovered closer to the other god, placing an ethereal hand on his now-apelike nose. Her grin disappeared slowly and a wistfulness caught in her eyes. You seem sad to me. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think that you are just a death god. Why should you be defined by the role you play? It is important, don’t get me wrong. I can see that. But you’re not just a death god. And no, I’m not dead. That’s not all that I am. I am alive! And she dashed away from him and spun around in a great fiery whirl, laughter rippling off her. But she was dead, Katharsos knew, and her joy was lessened by the leash that stifled her flight and tethered her close to the other god.

And as in for her words, she may as well have been skipping stones off the surface of a pond.

”These names that you mention are…” His face changed into that of a lion, now. ”...alien to me. But when you enter the Pyre, your thoughts will manifest to my eyes and I shall be elucidated. In that final moment, I will understand you. But before then, it seems unlikely.”
‘You don’t know them because you’ve locked yourself up here all on your lonesome silly! If you went and talked to everyone else then you’d know everyone wouldn’t you. And wait,’ Seihdhara looked at the great sky-pyre behind her and then back at Katharsos, ‘you want me to go in there? Why!?’ She asked, perplexed at the suggestion.

For the first time, he proclaimed his dogma aloud. ”Equality in death! It is not a matter of what I want, or of whether your life was fulfilling, or whether you were a god or a tiny vermin. All must be subjected to the cleansing fires here, so their souls may be recycled that life may spring forth anew. You are dead, and the dead must make way for the living--this is only natural. This is the only way.” Seihdhara looked back at the stream of suffering souls and back to Katharsos. It did not seem to her, when she had observed the souls, that this was the case at all. She had rather thought that there was something wrong with them, that they were suffering, that they were dying slowly. The great pyres to her seemed a mercy, a swift burning away that was preferable to this endless, painful shedding. She turned back to Katharsos.
So… so there is no actual reason for burning them? I thought you burn them because they are suffering, because of that shedding and peeling. They seem to be in a great amount of pain. But you only burn them because… because… she frowned, if that’s not why you burn them, then why do you burn them?

”I acknowledge their pain, and for that reason hurl them into the flames without hesitation. Though they long to find an ending, it is in their nature to survive, so they inevitably struggle and rage; for these souls, I must give swift relief. It is my duty and my imperative.” Katharsos had a way of speaking slowly so that every word had time to sink in and crush one under its implications before even the beginnings of the next word left the god’s mind. He was in no hurry as he explained further, “Things fall apart, and souls do not last forever. Those that are not yet so decayed, like you, I feel no need to rush. Eventually all dead things must find their way into the pyres so that they can make way for new life, but you may have time to contemplate the meaning of this lifetime and reflect until you are prepared to accept and face your destiny. Time within reason, of course.” Cocking her head, Seihdhara placed her hands on her hips and pursed her lips. Something was not quite right in this all. There was a piece that did not quite click. She scratched her head and tried to figure out exactly what it was.

Pain.
Rage.
Struggle.
Survival…

Her eyes brightened and she looked up at the smoke leaving the pyre. Now that stuff, that was dead. There could be no doubt. But those… she looked down at the screaming throng being forced into the great star-pyre. Those were not dead. You are contradicting yourself Cat-head! She declared excitedly, you say that I am dead, that they are dead. But dead things can’t feel! They don’t have a need to “survive”. Just because their bodies have collapsed, it doesn’t make them dead. I’ve looked into those souls down there and I have every belief that they are life itself! I need to look more, I know, but without them there can be no life. So how can they be dead? They feel, they want to survive, they rage - these are all clear signs of life. It is that smoke there, unfeeling and cold and… it’s that that’s dead. No, souls aren’t dead Cat-head. They only come here to die.

“No, what they have here is but a pale mockery of life, a lingering vestige. Once the death of body comes, the death of soul should not be protracted for long, lest they decay and become like the most wretched of these specimens before you.” He looked closer into Seihdhara’s fiery soul. The same gentle force that he’d used to bring her into his vicinity now lifted her chin and made her meet his gaze. “This denial that you are experiencing is a most frequent thing, and perhaps a natural one, from what I have already witnessed in these others. Those that find acceptance and face reality are more content in the end.” Seihdhara considered Katharsos’ words carefully before shrugging.

I have to think on it more, and I have to see more. And I can’t see more while I’m here. I’m glad I came up here and saw all these souls, I think it was important that I did. I left some of my soul behind when I came through the Door you see, and I need to get it back. This - all this, you know? - might be important. But I can’t stay here. She approached him, a slightly vulnerable look in her eyes, Cat-head, she whispered (though there was no need truly), you need to let me go. I need to get back to my body and to my only living strand of hair. It’s important.

The radiant gold of his face lost its color, and then Seihdhara saw that every fire could be black. It was a mournful, sympathetic look, but the warmth that he had been exuding had now gone cold. Just like the ashes. “You have not understood what I told you, and nor have you come to grasp with your situation. You are dead--I do not know how that came to be so quickly, but I shall mourn. But now that you are dead, there is no leaving this place. There is no more acting, no more doing anything anywhere else, no second chances. The only things left for you are rumination, and then taking the final step. Equality in death. And then rest. And then nothingness.” Seihdhara bit her ethereal lip and looked at the pyre behind them, and at the smokey soul remains above.

No. She would not go in there. She was Seihdhara. She had not been born to die and forget. She was alive. And when she died, she would rise again complete and whole. Seihdhara did not die. It was not her way. She wracked her mind, trying to find something that could persuade her committed brother to let her go. She could fight him, but it seemed to her that he cared little for resistance and showcasing a living spirit - it was merely denial and to be expected as far as he was concerned. Maybe she could try to knock him out if it really came to it, but she did not fancy her chances in her current state. Thinking back to what the Old Ogre had placed in her mind about Cat-head, she saw that he had been swift to leave once summoned into the world. Very eager to carry out his given purpose. Looking at the death god, she did not see any harm in trying that with him.

Uh. You know, I like your whole Equality in Death thing. It seems sensible. But don’t you think we gods were brought into this world for a reason? Don’t you think that we are especially important? Don’t you think you’d be messing with the Old Ogre’s plans if you burned me before... she frowned and tried to think back. What was it that Ugly Old Ogre had wanted her to do? Oh! Before I make my Sphere. My Sphere is very important, and if I die before making it then that Old Ogre won’t be happy. Na-Aah. So I really think you should reconsider burning me - at the very least until I’ve made my Sphere.

“A purpose?” He fell silent for a long, long time in serious contemplation.

”In truth, I have been grappling with such questions as well. Perhaps this is indeed a part of the One-Eyed One’s design. But maybe your purpose is nowhere near so grand as you purport; it might be that your lot was to die, that I could look into your pyre and see you, and know you. Or perhaps there is no purpose at all to what we do or are. How can you or I say? If He deigned that you were to live, would He really have allowed you to die so soon? Would He not deliver you away from this place now if there was some urgent cause, in His eye, to undo the death of your body?” Seihdhara shrugged at Katharsos’ questions.

I can’t say that these are questions that have been bothering me. I am the self-creator of my purpose, and I have already decreed that I am not born to die. But if you are worried about these things, I think it would be good to ask the Ogre before doing away with me, don’t you think? Or if you have no time to go ask him, I can go. But I won’t promise you that I’ll be coming back! She smiled sheepishly and scratched the back of her head again, unrepentant in her honesty.

”If you indeed have a purpose, and if it would offend Him that you fail to fulfill whatever role this is, then we speak of destiny. One does not write their own destiny, or simply decree that he is beyond death.”

He looked away from her, toward a great patch of nothingness in the dark void between stars. Melantha’s darkened Sphere obscured the way, but it was easy enough for the two of them to feel that this was the precise direction in which a small rocky planetoid drifted, inside of which was the Architect’s palace, inside of which was Him on His throne, and His unbroken eye. The gaze of that eye had never left them, and even now Katharsos felt its stare…

”He sees us now. He saw you then, whenever you died. That He did nothing and does nothing seems telling. I think that you are incorrect in your convictions, Seihdhara.” Seihdhara looked in the direction Katharsos had looked for a few moments, then she turned back to her brother and, shrugging, grinned again.
You might be right, Cat-head! But maybe he sees no reason to intervene because he knows I’m fully capable of dealing with this on my own! You are the master of death, and I am that wards you off. So maybe it is time for me to do what I do! What do you think? And the memory of a sword seemed to manifest itself at her fingertips, and she flared with a fire that was not just of the soul. Because this soul was different.

If she had expected a reaction, then she wasn’t met with the reaction she hoped for. In fact, she was hardly met with any reaction at all. Katharsos still stared into the distance, looking toward where the Barrier was hidden behind darkness. He had heard her, though she might not have even realized. He simply had nothing left to say save for the silent statement that he remained unswayed. Seihdhara moved a short distance from him, now distinctly aware of the ethereal grip he had on her. But even in his grip she grew, her fiery soul swelling and gushing until it matched the other god’s in size. And the ethereal blade she had waved away returned and glistened. If you would kill me, Cat-head, then I will fight. Will you not let me go?

Before him was the ultimate defiance, a direct challenge, the very pinnacle of the ‘denial’ he had spoken of. Yet when he finally turned to face her again, there was nothing but an infuriated look that suggested he’d expected this. ”You cannot escape,” he told her flatly. ”I do not care for violence; it is not becoming of us, and entirely futile as well. Calm yourself.”

His eyes darted to her ethereal blade, and by the sheer force of his will did the ghostly facade of a weapon begin to fade and dissipate. She smirked at his words and actions, tightening her grip on the ethereal sword and forcing it to remain. Violence, Cat-head? You pulled me here forcefully and are keeping me against my will - is that not violence? Violence and force are keeping me here, and violence and force will get me out - unless you see reason and release me. There is no reason at all to keep me here. I refuse death. I am not peeling and shedding like the others. I still have much to do. The others, and she gestured to the millions of souls shedding themselves in pain, need to burn, but what need have I for it? Have you thought about that? Why can’t you send me through complete? As I am. If you have no answers, if there are no good reasons, then we must fight until I am free.

Finally, with that accusation, she managed to provoke a reaction and some semblance of emotion. His face molded once more, now into something like a dog. The black flames turned to bright red. I brought you here? I am keeping you here through violence? Some mixture of confusion, anger, and (perhaps promisingly, for her) even guilt manifested upon his as he tried to grapple with and process that perspective.

”I do not bring anybody here. The Vortex of Souls brings all of the dead here, and you are clearly dead. So call it misfortune, or happenstance, or destiny that killed you and brought you here, but not I! And I would think that I am anything but violent, for offering you the mercy and grace and time that I have. I would like it if all lived fulfilling and good lives before they came before me. I would like it if all felt prepared for what is to come, and stepped into the Pyre of their own free will. I have not flung you into the flames against your will, although I certainly could have, and for that valuable consideration and all others, I am not violent!” Seihdhara only scoffed at Katharsos’ empty excuses and justifications.

You say that, Cat-head, but let us not lie to ourselves. You are the one who created the Vortex - no soul was given a choice in that matter, I know I wasn’t! Already that is violence and force whether you realise it or not. It may not be physical, but you are taking away freedom - and freedom is only taken by force whether physical or not. Don’t try to wriggle your way out of responsibility on that front! As for not flinging me into the flames and giving me time - what difference does it make? You have decided, whether I want it or not, that I will burn. Whether that happens now or in billions of aeons, the decision is made. That is force and violence even if you have coated it in kindness and mercy.

”This cycle, these pyres, my doctrine--all are for the greater good, and I can envision no better system. But the system would fail if none were to enforce it, so perhaps you are right in that I do use force. But I do not enjoy being heavy-handed; I fling these broken souls into the flames only as an act of mercy, and even still I feel regret. And I have not been nearly brutal enough to be called ‘violent’ in my dealings with you! There is no choice to be had in that all must find their way to the pyres. If it were not I, another would have to bear this burden and play this role. If the souls were not committed to flame, then perhaps they would be committed to ice, but in the end it would make no difference. Channeling your rage and denial and using it to wound me undeservedly is a great cruelty, and a most unjust one at that!” Seihdhara raised her head and huffed.

If you can’t handle the truth don’t blame me for it. If you are hurt by what I say then you are merely hurt by the truth - without all that flowery decoration and philosophical prettying-up. Why is there no choice to be had? Why must all find their way to the pyres? A healthy soul such as mine is not the same as those ones there that are shedding themselves. Surely justice demands that you treat me differently - equality here is injustice. How can you treat those half-souls, diseased and broken, like my full soul, vigorous and full of health? That is the very heart of injustice, don’t you think? What will you do in the future if other souls that are unbroken and not suffering come to you? Will you throw them in just the same? Would it not be better to create another route for them? One that does not involve all this burning and… she looked up with dread at the smoking remains of the souls and all this forgetting. She looked back at him, if you are unwilling to consider the plight of those souls that come to you before their time, then you know no mercy or justice. Why then should I show you mercy in word or action? Your system, I can see that it is necessary. But it is far too rigid. Equality in Death - it seemed sensible to me at first, but now that I think on it there is no sense to it. There should be justice in death. So give me justice, or give me battle!

”You are not treated the same, child! Where you see my wind hurl them into the fires, you are given the fair and valuable consideration of time. Of the right to even speak this conversation, to even be greeted by me! How is it just to send a soul that’s only half-ruined back to the Spheres below, when a detached spirit would only create mayhem? Why should I permit the selfish dead that refuse to pass on the right to inflict themselves upon those that yet live, when instead they can be ended as they are? When one dies, his soul is recycled and takes new form and another being lives. There is no battle here, Seihdhara, but there is justice.” Seihdhara frowned in confusion. She did not understand everything he was saying. Inflict themselves? Selfish? Half-ruined and detached spirits?

Look Cat-head, I don’t know what you’re saying but if you expect me to be grateful because you allowed me, in your endless magnanimity, to speak, then think again. If I am to bow down at your feet in utter humility and subservience because you have given me time to contemplate, then you have another thing coming. I am a prisoner here, brought unwilling. And you intended to annihilate me, destroy all that I am, and look into my most private thoughts and memories. This is not merely violence, this is an all out invasion, a metaphysical assault and violence of enormous proportions. I will not be grateful. I will call you out. And you will rethink this. And you will let me be free - at the very least put me back where your Vortex kidnapped me from. Or if you have to burn me, then don’t burn my memories. Reform me whole. And don’t look into me.

His fires shook gently side to side as if the fluttering flames were blown by some wind, but there was no wind here in the cold of space. ”I thought that my purpose might be misunderstood,” he wistfully said, ”but I had hoped it might not be so. It is disappointing to see you so unable to grasp my perspective or look beyond yourself, but I still hold hope that perhaps the others are more mature. Very well, I can see that you will not be swayed, yet neither do your words or threats change my mind. So here you shall remain, until the end of your days. You may still choose when that is.”

With that final condemnation, Katharsos turned away from Seihdhara and left her. She watched after him dolefully until the distant light of his fiery body disappeared around to the other side of the great pyre before her. The lamentations of the steady stream of souls being swept into the pyre made a fitting ambience for her plight. She puffed in frustration and threw the soul-blade away in anger, her great body fizzling and shrinking like a great balloon swiftly releasing air. That did not go well at all. She had let her anger get to her and, instead of convincing her brother with kind words she had forced him off with harsh ones. Even now, moments (or it seemed like moments) after the heated fight she could see with exactness where she had gone wrong and where she might have been able to speak better. Slapping herself for the nitwit that she was, she made to go after him. But almost immediately she stopped herself. No, she had hurt him. She had sensed that. Perhaps more deeply than she could have imagined. She would have to give him some time to think, to calm down. Perhaps time would make him take more kindly to her advanced when she approached him at last. Biting her lips and sighing, she stared miserably at the endless stream of souls being swept into the star.

She was not sure how long it had been when she finally started, and got up from what must have been a slumber. She had lost count at what must have been the four thousandth soul to be flung into the pyre. She looked about and began searching for Cat-head. Slowly at first, for she was worried about getting caught in the torrent this close to the huge star, but once she had gotten her bearings she sped up. She found him eventually, brooding as he had been before he heard her the first time. She bit her lips and looked at him shyly, before approaching close enough to touch him. She extended a hand and touched his fiery head.
C- Cat-head, she murmured, I just wanted to say that- and here she smiled awkwardly and her eyes were as full of repentance as she could sincerely show, I was stupid I was harsh I got angry I shouldn’t have I know it was so dumb. Please, don’t take what I said to heart. I might have gotten a bit too harsh in my accusations - I only wanted you to free me see? And, well. I saw that you were kind - it’s so clear that you are! I just thought that if I made you feel guilty enough then you would let me go. I know, I was bad, I shouldn’t have. Look - I understand why you bring them up here, I can see that you would prefer for them all to have lived complete and fulfilling lives, to willingly leap into the flame and be annihilated. It is a beautiful ideal. I still don’t entirely understand why they are shedding - and I still intend to find out! But the reason I want to know is because I too don’t wish for them to suffer, I too wish for them to live complete and fulfilled lives. And yes, I know they are dead the moment they leave their bodies as far as you are concerned, but I want them not to suffer even in the brief time between departing their bodies and being truly annihilated. Call me sentimental or emotional, or whatever else you will, but it is what it is I guess. So- uh. I just wanted to say that. So you know and don’t think too harshly of me - or of yourself at that. And yeah - sorry about my outbursts. She looked at him apologetically and gripped his flames tighter, as if her closeness to him and her words would soften his heart to her and have him forgive her. And somehow, her words found her way into his heart and she convinced him.

”Go,” he told her. It had been almost a whisper, a tiny crack in the smooth surface of silence, but now he was silent once more. Had he even spoken at all, or was it only her hopeful imagination..? But erelong, there was a gentle tugging upon her. It brought her toward the pyre, and it tightened, but it didn’t let go. Swiftly realising what was happening, she held onto her brother and resisted the tug.
N- no. Talk to me first. There was a desperation in her voice and her eyes told only too well of a deep fright. It was not the horror he had seen in her eyes at the prospect of being burned, but something rather more immediate. I... and there was suddenly a wide-eyed naivety about her, I don’t want to have lost you.
”They’ll always think what you said. That I’m a tyrant,” he accidentally mused aloud. He shook his head slightly, and the force spiriting her away grew stronger. She frowned and shook her head also, still clutching onto him against the pull and tears suddenly forming in her ethereal eyes and dripping onto him.
No. They won’t. I will tell them otherwise. They will know of your mercy, as I have come to know. And you know it too.
And then the force grew too strong and it carried her up, over the brazing inferno, into the great plume of ash that the flames belched upward, and in that updraft she was caught and swept away. The ashes carried her back down to Galbar, the great billowing cloud of them unnaturally retaining its cohesion so as to bear her against the current of the Vortex of Souls. She passed by many a spirit and broken soul on its fateful journey to the stars. Some didn’t react, for she was not the only soul about even if she was the only fiery one, but just as many took notice, and they laughed or made faces or jeered or screamed. Still, the cold ashes bore her away from them and back down to Galbar. The cold, dead ashes. They were raining down everywhere here on Galbar; she just hadn’t known to look for them before. She looked up and all about here, awed into silence by the… all-encompassing nature of these things. She sank closer to the ground, following now this piece and now that piece, peering within this piece and tearing apart that as if to see in it. And closer to the sea she saw a tiny creature, far too tiny for mere sight. It was tearing itself apart, slowly, and bits of soul were crowding about it with urgency. And then, with a suddenness, the creature was now two identical creatures and a single piece of soul disappeared inside it. And Seihdhara could suddenly see the new, whole soul that lay within the tiny plankton of her sister’s creation. And so the cycle was complete.

With the ghost of a smile dancing on her ethereal face, she looked up above to where she knew her brother sat in thought and contemplation, considering the memories of unknown thousands. What knowledge he must have, what wisdom! She shrank inwardly in embarrassment at the thought of having spoken so outlandishly before him in his own realm. It was only a sign of his mercy and wisdom that he did not lash out at her then and punish her as the Old Ogre had done before. She could learn much from one like Cat-head. And it seemed the first lesson she should take to heart was quite clearly not to anger those with power over her!

She considered this deeply for a few moments. There was an altogether serious expression on her face.

Oh fuck it. Who am I kidding. And she scratched her head sheepishly. But no! She had to learn to pick her battles carefully! And she had to know how to fight her battles! That lesson she could - and would! - learn. And so thinking, she extended her senses until she felt where that distant part of her - that hair - was. And she dashed away, ready now for her second - and final - coming.


@AdorableSaucer @Darkspleen Regarding:

After a few hours she had gotten a very good idea of what the continent was like. In a word: boring. It was rock and rock and more rock. Oh and a random river of blood that ran through most of the continent. Because why wouldn’t that be a thing? Or perhaps calling it a river of ichor would be more fitting as Phystene could sense it possessed a divine nature.


I may have misunderstood, but I was under the impression that our resident river god had made Continent Kirron his base and that, if it is not already flush with rivers, it already has the Hemen/Giant's Bath (are they the same thing or am I confused?) at it's centre. I never imagined Continent Kirron being rocky at all. On the contrary, thought the mere presence of the Gateway to Fengshui Fuyou meant it was rather riverfied.
@BBeast You are right, I think making the river run with ichor can be subsumed under giving the Seihdh and Seihdhar the properties mentioned in the wiki article. I'll go with that and save 3 FP.
I would say that applying the Monument dynamic to the river and lake would be somewhat forced. While natural things (a tree for instance, or a hill) could easily fall under the Monument model, a river seems too vast to me and not quite destructible by non-divine or extreme magical means. In a similar way I wouldn't call a swamp a Monument if being in it confers blessings, or a cloud if being rained on by it has certain effects on land/people. To my mind, these fall under the more general '1+ Might: Perform some other godly feat.'
My reasoning for this is partly because to my mind artefacts and monuments ought to be of more immediate use to the god or gods who create them (e.g. a god could use the artefact themselves, or could benefit from the monument's effects). The Seihdh and Seihdhar, however, don't confer any immediate benefits on Seihdhara, but are aesthetically and symbolically nice and have some benefits for mortals, and they will likely have some interesting impact on the cultures and civilisations that grow about them. Maybe I'm overly limiting what Monuments are, but that's my two pence!

Now regarding the river and the lake being two separate bodies as far as Might and expenditure goes, I'd say the lake is part of the river (so the 2 FP that created the river also created its headwaters, they are one in that regard).
The depths of the Seihdh Lake are a Gateway and, as you mentioned, that comes with a set of properties all its own, and I'll expand on that once I have thought on it more.
Now if we break things down a bit, there are effectively two sets of blessings and a 'curse' in place on the Seihdh and Seihdhar together:
-The blessing granted by the waters nearer the river mouth
-The blessing granted by the waters nearer the headwaters and the upper waters of the Seihdh Lake
-The adverse (possibly lethal) effects suffered by those who drink from the upper waters of the Seihdh Lake without having received training in the Seal first.


As each of these is a powerful and permanent blessing/curse on a natural phenomenon rather than a group, I'd think 2 FP for each makes sense, to a total of 6 FP for the properties all together, and the blood would be subsumed under them all generally as mentioned earlier. Of course, these are not curses or blessings in the conventional sense, and so would still fall under the above-mentioned 1+ Might for a godly feat, but the curse/blessing costs give a good guideline for what price makes sense as the effects are more or less curses/blessings only that there is a conduit.

And yup, making things out of bits of gods is very present in ancients myths. I was reading some Mesopotomian creation stories not too long ago and there is a lot of chopping up gods. What happens there would be the equivalent of all the Mk.III gods conspiring against Archie, chopping him up, then making the different spheres out of his body parts. :| My little river is really tame in comparison. xD

@Scarescrow Not Adam that's for sure! That freak! When Seihdhara finds out he's the god of love she's gonna throw up. All over him.

edit: I'm joking. No one should bully Adam. He's a cutey really. Like a space slug.
@Muttonhawk @Cyclone @BBeast
I have edited the expenditure in the last post to the following:
--MIGHT & FP EXPENDITURE:
----Creation of the River Seihdhar across Kirron's continent - a minor landscape change. (-2 Free Points)
----Causing the River Seihdhar to run with Seihdhara's ichor rather than water. (-3 Free Points)
----Giving the River Seihdhar and the Seihdh Lake the properties detailed in the wiki page. (-6 Free Points)
----Making the Source of the River Seihdhar (the lower half of Seihdhara's corpse at the bottom of the Seihdh Lake) a Gateway to the Seal. (-7 Free Points)
0 MP & 0 FP Remaining

Please advise as to whether that is suitable.
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